Trade #3 - The Cardinals add "volume" to their pitching staff
Cardinals receive: RHP Dylan Cease, RHP Michael Kopech, and LHP Garrett Crochet
White Sox receive: 2B Nolan Gorman, RHP Tink Hence, OF Dylan Carlson, and 2B Cesar Prieto
Let's go back to the Cease conversation. In the words of John Mozeliak, the Cardinals are seeking "volume" this offseason from their pitching acquisitions.
Cease alone would certainly qualify as this. Just under $9 million for a top-of-the-rotation starter who is going to give you 180+ innings as well? That checks the box for sure. But what if the Cardinals looked to add even more volume into this deal as well?
Garrett Crochet is set to make around $900k in his first year of arbitration while Michael Kopech is slated to make $3.6 million in his second year of arbitration. Both pitchers have really great stuff and have been successful at the Major League level and could be had for a combined $4.4 million.
Crochet is a left-handed reliever who was excellent in 2021 for the White Sox, throwing 54.1 innings to the tune of a 2.82 ERA while striking out 10.8 batters per nine innings. Crochet missed all of 2022 after having Tommy John surgery and appeared in 13 games in 2023, posting a 3.55 ERA in that stretch. Sure there's some risk, but he's still someone who has shown the ability to be a high-leverage reliever. Chicago is currently debating between using him as a multi-inning reliever or stretching him out as a starter, showing that he's a guy who could eat innings in a number of roles.
Kopech was once one of the top prospects in baseball and has had an up-and-down career thus far. He had an excellent year out of the bullpen in 2021 for the White Sox and followed that up with a 3.54 ERA in 25 starts for Chicago in 2022. He has incredible stuff, but couldn't get it under control in 2023. He struck out 9.3 batters per nine innings while also walking 6.3 batters as well. Kopech's 5.43 ERA and 6.46 FIP were not forgiving to him either, so he may be a solid candidate for a change of scenery.
Like Crochet, Kopech would be used as a starter, multi-inning reliever, or high-leverage arm, and both would come on very affordable salaries.
The price for that alongside Cease though raises the package a bit in my opinion. Donovan is upgraded to Gorman, and while they do take Graceffo out of this deal, Dylan Carlson and Cesar Prieto join with Hence to create a package here. Gorman gives the White Sox their new rising star offensively to join Montgomery in the infield, while Hence can be their new prized starter in their system.
Carlson and Prieto are interesting fits for the White Sox as well. Carlson was once a top prospect in baseball and could look to get his career back on track by playing next to Luis Robert Jr. in one of the corners. Prieto doesn't have a high ceiling as a prospect, but he could be a more than capable infield option for them in the very near future.