Trade #1 - The Cardinals get their ace, Dylan Cease
Cardinals acquire RHP Dylan Cease from the White Sox for OF Dylan Carlson, RHP Gordon Graceffo, LHP Cooper Hjerpe, and 1B/DH Juan Yepez
Two things before I dissect this trade: first, a player like Dylan Cease is going to cost a treasure of assets (probably more than you'd like to believe, more on that later), and two, the exact players in this deal could be swapped around, but again, we are talking big value here.
Cease finished 2nd in Cy Young voting in 2022 after going 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA and 227 SO in 184 innings pitched. In his age-27 season, he's posted a 2.73 ERA in 5 starts for the 7-15 White Sox. While their team has time to turn things around too, I thought coming into the season that they were a team that was on the verge of blowing up, and I think that will be the case come July.
Cease is not a free agent until after the 2026 season, so to acquire him would be an extremely high price with the level of talent and cost control you are acquiring. The exact package is hard to predict, but I imagine it would cost some combination of Major League talent and top prospects.
Dylan Carlson and Juan Yepez are quality big leaguers with years of team control they just don't have long-term roles with the Cardinals at the moment, and would benefit from playing every day on another team. They would represent two quality position players to build around for the White Sox.
Parting with both Cooper Hjerpe and Gordon Graceffo is a tough pill to swallow, but that feels like a fair price if the Cardinals get to avoid giving up Masyn Winn and Tink Hence. If one of those names were in this package, which it honestly may take that, then I think the Cardinals could keep one or both of those arms.
Dylan Cease, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Montgomery, and Miles Mikolas would form a pretty darn good postseason rotation, and I think it's something the Cardinals should strongly consider this summer.