Will the Reds regret not trading for this star pitcher during the offseason?

Dylan Cease is living up to the hype.
San Diego Padres pitcher Dylan Cease
San Diego Padres pitcher Dylan Cease / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

Throughout the entire offseason, the Chicago White Sox were shopping starting pitcher Dylan Cease. The Cincinnati Reds were one of the teams who were rumored to be part of the negotiations with the White Sox, but the asking price was too high.

Cincinnati was not alone in rejecting Chicago's mammoth ask. The Texas Rangers were in the mix for Cease's services, as were several other ball clubs. In the end, the San Diego Padres were the winners of the Cease sweepstakes, trading three of their top prospects, including Drew Thorpe and Jairo Iriarte, in order to land the 2022 AL Cy Young finalist.

Cease has been red-hot at the outset of the 2024 season, and is one of the best starting pitchers in the National League. Cease's early-season success begs the question; should the Reds have been more aggressive in their pursuit this offseason?

Will the Reds regret not trading for Dylan Cease during the offseason?

Cease, Tyler Glasnow, and Shane Bieber were the three big trade targets this past winter and the Reds were involved in conversations on all three. Glasnow landed in LA and was given a massive contract extension from the Dodgers. Bieber stayed put in Cleveland, and was recently diagnosed with an elbow injury that will result in the former Cy Young Award-winner missing the rest of the 2024 season. Cease was traded to the Padres just before the start of the regular season.

Make no mistake, if you were one of those Reds fans who wanted the team to trade for Cease, it was going to deplete Cincinnati's farm system. Of course fans will never know which Reds prospects may have been involved in a potential trade, but with Chicago's need for pitching, the White Sox likely would have asked for players like Rhett Lowder, Chase Petty, or Connor Phillips. Throw in another top prospect like Cam Collier, Sal Stewart, or Carlos Jorge and the Reds may have been able to make a deal.

That's a big ask for a team like the Reds who've worked hard to build up the farm system over the past two years. But Cease is one of the top pitchers in the NL this season. Cease is among the top-10 in the league in ERA (1.99), strikeouts (27), WHIP (0.93), and batting average against (.130).

The Reds preferred to keep their collection of prospects and offered Frankie Montas a one-year, $16 million deal. Montas has been up-and-down through his first few starts, but signing the right-hander allowed the Reds to keep their top young talent while also adding a veteran arm to the rotation.

Cease was is under team-control through 2025, which was one of the biggest reasons for his sky-high price tag. This will be an intriguing situation to monitor, and if Cease goes on to have an All-Star or Cy Young-type of season, Reds fans may change their tune when it comes to keeping the cupboard full down on the farm.

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