It wouldn't be the weekend without us having to touch on Bruce Levine's latest offerings on 670 The Score. On Saturday morning, the Cubs beat writer felt the need to opine that not only should the Cubs pony up top pitching prospects in a trade for Dylan Cease, but it was the 'most logical' outcome for both the Cubs and White Sox.
Cubs know this isn't the type of trade that pushes them over the top
Cease, a former Cubs top prospect who was traded, along with Eloy Jimenez, for Jose Quintana back in 2017, is a former Cy Young runner-up. However, his 2023 season saw some red flags in his performance and they're concerning enough that Jed Hoyer is almost certainly not about to meet the White Sox' asking price for the right-hander.
Lsat season, Cease made 33 starts and tossed 177 innings, but was below league average in ERA+ (97). His batted ball metrics (along with most of his other Statcast measurements, for that matter) trended sharply downwards and, with two years of control left, the Sox may be better off letting him re-establish himself early in 2024 before trying to trade him.
Cade Horton is likely to enter 2024 as a top-25 prospect in the sport and, if not for an untimely season-ending injury, Ben Brown would be a consensus top-50 guy, too. If the White Sox are focused on top pitching prospects, they need to look elswhere in a Cease trade once top free agents Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell sign.
Maybe if the Cubs had a roster that was legitimately one starter away from being World Series contenders, this would be at least semi-feasible. But that's not where we are. Chicago needs at least two big bats, a starter (or two) and bullpen reinforcements. Some of that could wind up coming from the farm system, maybe not in '24 but in '25 and '26, but they're not close enough to push their chips in on a deal like this - and suggesting otherwise is just foolish.