With the pitching market having stalled yet again, the focus has shifted back to Dylan Cease. The Chicago White Sox starter is known to be on the trade block, but newly appointed GM Chris Getz has set a very high price tag for his prized pitcher.
And why not? The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are said to be in these conversations by the way, have bought up some of the top pitchers on the market and are still looking to upgrade their rotation heading into 2024. This has caused a lull in the market, and the White Sox are right to ask for a king's ransom in return for a starting pitcher with two years of team control.
Cease was heavily linked to the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles earlier this offseason due to the fact that both clubs are on the cusp of contention and in need of a frontline starter. But the asking price has been a non-starter for most of the Reds fanbase and Cincinnati's front office.
MLB.com's Reds-Dylan Cease trade proposal goes one step too far
However, MLB.com recently cobbled together six potential Dylan Cease trade packages, complete with analysis of the prospects involved and whether or not the deal made sense for both sides. After hearing the ridiculous asking price during the MLB Winter Meetings that included four of the Reds Top 10 prospects, this most recent trade proposal is much easier to swallow.
The group of writers over at MLB.com suggested Cease could be had for a trade package headlined by Jonathan India. Joining the Reds second baseman would be pitching prospects Connor Phillips, Lyon Richardson, and Chase Petty.
Parting with India makes all the sense in the world. The Reds have already signed Jeimer Candelario, have a bevy of talented infielders in both the major and minor leagues, and it's unlikely India's trade value is going to be higher than it is right now. Sorry to all the India fans out there, but, he's replaceable.
While some Reds fans will hate the addition of Phillips in this scenario, either he or Rhett Lowder are likely to be part of any kind of Cease trade package. While Phillips possesses tremendous stuff, there is reliever risk due to his lack of control.
Richardson seems like a fine prospect, and for all we know he could turn into a front-of-the-rotation starter. But if Cincinnati is going all-in on the 2024 and 2025 seasons, there are other pitchers within the organization who can fill his role. Carson Spiers and Casey Legumina come to mind.
The player that pushes this deal too far is Petty. The young right-hander has made great strides since arriving in the organization, and the Reds gave up Sonny Gray to get him. Petty has a complete arsenal, and could be the pitcher who would eventually replace Cease in the rotation if he departed after the 2025 season.
While this trade package is easier to stomach than a lot of other wacky proposals out there, it's still just bit too much. Substitute Sammy Stafura, Carlos Jorge, or Ricardo Cabrera, and we got a deal. But Cincinnati can't afford to give up three young, controllable arms in exchange for Cease.