3. Reds trade MLB-ready players for Dylan Cease
Okay, let's get away from the from the prospects for a moment and look at a hypothetical trade package that will sting just as much, but not affect the Cincinnati Reds farm system.
This proposal seems a bit more unlikely, as a trade for Dylan Cease is about winning in 2024 and 2025, so trading away your major league-ready players would seem illogical. So while a trade for Cease is unlikely to see the Reds sacrifice players from the 40-man roster, the potential is there.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand made his major league debut in 2023 and looks to be in line to replace Joey Votto at first base heading into next season. However, Nick Krall talked about the potential for Jonathan India to get reps at first base, and Spencer Steer saw plenty of time there last season.
Trading Encarnacion-Strand is not going to be high on anyone's list, as the slugger has the potential to mash 30-plus homers per season. But Cease is going to command a big return, and if we're talking about major league-ready players, Encarnacion-Strand would be in that conversation.
But a one-for-one swap won't be enough to bring Cease to the Queen City. The Reds would also have to sacrifice one of their starters. Hunter Greene is already signed to a six-year contract, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft are both coming off injuries, and Andrew Abbott looks like a star.
But Brandon Williamson could be the odd-man out in the Reds rotation as currently constructed. Having just completed his rookie season, the left-hander has several years of team-control remaining. Pairing Williamson with Encarnacion-Strand and throwing in a prospect could be enough to get a deal done.
Each of these hypothetical trade packages are unlikely to sit well with the Cincinnati Reds fanbase. But if the club really is looking to swing a deal for Dylan Cease, Reds Country had better brace for some key losses. The starting pitching market is hotter than ever, and landing a player like Cease is going to be costly.