Reds' return for Luis Castillo offers road map for potential Dylan Cease trade

The Cincinnati Reds worked out a deal in 2022 that should help lay the groundwork for a potential Dylan Cease trade.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease
Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

It was reported earlier this offseason that the Chicago White Sox were seeking a trade package of Rhett Lowder and Chase Petty, as well as the presumed duo of Carlos Jorge and Sammy Stafura fo Dylan Cease.

Jason Williams of the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that the ask could have been even more. According to Williams, a trade package for Cease would've included Edwin Arroyo, Rhett Lowder, Connor Phillips and at least one more prospect.

While it's anyone's guess what the actual ask was, the price tag to acquire Dylan Cease is astronomical, and it may result in the right-hander staying in the Windy City if White Sox GM Chris Getz refuses to lower his expectations.

At the moment, the White Sox are asking too much for Dylan Cease

Not only will that proposed trade package send Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall running for the hills, but general manager Mike Elias of the Baltimore Orioles is likely to follow suit.

There's no denying that the market for a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher is going to be expensive. Whether teams are looking to upgrade their rotation through free agency or a trade, it's going to sting.

Watching the Los Angeles Dodgers sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a pitcher who's never set foot on a major league mound, to a 12-year/$325-million contract is going to upset the market. However, savvy executives like Krall and Elias are not going to overpay - whether it's in dollars or prospects.

The Reds' return for Luis Castillo in 2022 offers road map for Dylan Cease trade

While Dylan Cease has two years of team control remaining and was a Cy Young finalist in 2022, former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Luis Castillo offers a reasonable comparison. At the time he was traded, Castillo had been to two All-Star Games. Entering the 2022 season, Castillo was worth 14.5 fWAR.

Cease is a workhorse. The right-hander has started at least 32 games in each of the past three seasons and logged at least 165 innings of work. Through his first five seasons, Cease is worth 13.0 fWAR.

When Castillo was traded to the Mariners midway through the 2022 season, the Cincinnati Reds received two of Seattle's top prospects in Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo. The Mariners also added pitchers Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore to seal the deal.

That should be the ceiling in terms of what the Chicago White Sox can hope to receive in return for Dylan Cease. Two top prospects, plus two lower-level minor leaguers should be enough to get a deal done. But the current asking price, which appears to include three top prospects, is far too much.

Reasonable Cease trade

According to MLB Pipeline, Edwin Arroyo, Rhett Lowder, and Connor Phillips all rank among the Top 100 prospects in Major League Baseball. Cincinnati's only other player to rank among the Top 100 is Noelvi Marte, and he'll soon graduate from prospect status.

Asking for Arroyo and Connor Phillips, and perhaps right-hander Jared Lyons and outfield prospect Justice Thompson is a much more reasonable return and one that could be enough to get Nick Krall to pull the trigger on a potential deal to land Cease.

The Cincinnati Reds shouldn't close the door on the idea of trading for Dylan Cease, but if the Chicago White Sox are unwilling to budge on their asking price, there are other options to upgrade the starting rotation.