HomeMLB RumorsRangers, White Sox Have Recently Discussed Dylan Cease

Rangers, White Sox Have Recently Discussed Dylan Cease

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Significant trades halfway through Spring Training are rare, yet speculation about White Sox’s staff ace Dylan Cease hasn’t gone away. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported this morning that the Yankees put a new trade proposal on the table for Chicago’s expected Opening Day starter. Meanwhile, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes that the Rangers are still considering which players they might need to relinquish to try to pry Cease from the Sox.

Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reports that the Sox and Rangers have had recent conversations regarding Cease. Rosenthal indicates that Chicago seems to be “getting more serious” about dealing the hard-throwing righty this spring.

Manager Pedro Grifol demurred this evening when asked whether he still expected Cease to start for the Sox on Opening Day. “I don’t know. I mean, how am I supposed to know that,” he asked rhetorically (via Scott Merkin of MLB.com). “I don’t know what’s going to happen out there. I don’t know where other teams are, what their urgency is. … I leave that to our major league scouts, our general manager, the front office.

While the Yankees’ renewed interest in Cease is tied to Gerrit Cole’s MRI, Texas hasn’t dealt with any recent injuries to their rotation. Yet they went into camp knowing that three of their top starters — Jacob deGromMax Scherzer and Tyler Mahle — were going to begin the year on the shelf. Mahle and deGrom seem likely to be out past the All-Star Break as they work back from last year’s respective Tommy John procedures. Scherzer underwent back surgery in December and is expected to be sidelined into June.

That puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the pitching staff to hold the fort for the season’s first couple months. The Rangers have a front four of Nathan EovaldiJon GrayDane Dunning and Andrew Heaney. Left-hander Cody Bradford is the favorite for the #5 job to open the season. Texas optioned Cole Winn over the weekend, taking him out of the mix for an Opening Day job. Owen White and Zak Kent are on the 40-man roster but have a combined two MLB appearances between them (both by White). José Ureña and Adrian Sampson are in camp on non-roster deals but should be behind Bradford on the depth chart.

If healthy, that’s still a solid front four. Yet there’s a fair amount of injury risk with much of that group. Eovaldi has twice undergone Tommy John surgery in his career. Gray has been on the injured list four times in his two seasons as a Ranger. Heaney was healthy last season but lost a good chunk of 2022 to shoulder problems. Even Dunning has a Tommy John surgery in his history, although he has been durable and quite effective for the last three seasons.

Even if that entire group stays healthy, Texas would benefit from another arm who can push Bradford to a long relief role. The southpaw turned in a 5.30 ERA in his first 56 big league frames a year ago. He has excellent control but struggled with home runs last season. That’s likely to be a recurring concern as a fly-ball pitcher without overpowering stuff. His fastball averaged 90.4 MPH.

To his credit, the Baylor product has pitched well this spring. Bradford has rattled off 11 innings of three-run ball, fanning nine against a pair of walks. Still, that’s unlikely to deter the front office from considering ways to upgrade the staff as they look to defend the first World Series in franchise history.

The Sox’s asking price on Cease has remained high, which is why he’s still in Chicago two weeks from Opening Day. The 2022 AL Cy Young runner-up is coming off a down year, turning in a 4.58 ERA over 177 innings. With mid-90s velocity and a strikeout rate that sat above 27% last season, he’s a clear rebound candidate. Cease is under arbitration control for two more years and will make $8MM in 2024. That affordability makes him an attractive alternative to top remaining free agents Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. The Rangers have had a fairly quiet offseason, thanks in part to trepidation about the long-term viability of their TV deal with Bally Sports.


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