5 Cardinals trade packages for Dylan Cease with the White Sox listening to offers

Out of all of the starters available this offseason, White Sox Dylan Cease offers the Cardinals an opportunity to grab a front-line starter at a smaller salary.
San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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Trade #1

Cardinals receive: RHP Dylan Cease

White Sox receive: UTL Tommy Edman, RHP Tink Hence, RHP Gordon Graceffo, and OF Joshua Baez

Credit to Onyxdog on Derrick Goold's weekly chat, as he threw out the first three names of this proposal, and I added Baez in based on Goold's response.

Goold seemed to think this was a strong offer, something he thinks the White Sox would want and would also make the Cardinals uncomfortable, which seems to be the land you have to get to in order to get a deal done here.

The White Sox currently have openings at both shortstop and second base, making Edman a perfect fit for their middle infield. He has the same amount of club control left as Cease and could be a long-term answer for them up the middle or a future trade chip for them to utilize.

Tink Hence is the real star of this package though, and would be the tough pill the Cardinals need to swallow to make this happen. Cease's market should be strong, even after a down year, and a prospect like Hence has the power to move the needle here. Hence has so much potential as a starter, but there are still concerns about his durability, how high his ceiling truly is, and whether or not he is a starter or reliever. I'm bullish on Hence as a prospect, but with the grave need the Cardinals have for pitching, I get why they'd cash him in for Cease.

Graceffo had a weird year after breaking out as a prospect in 2022 but still offers middle-of-the-rotation upside long-term. With additions like Tekoah Roby, Sem Robberse, Drew Rom, and Adam Kloffenstien though, the Cardinals may be able to part with both Hence and Graceffo, knowing the risk they are taking but gaining an arm like Cease in the process. Edman, Hence, and Graceffo would offer three really good building blocks for the White Sox's future, along with a guy like Baez who is a raw prospect with a high upside long-term.

From the Cardinals' end, they acquire a front-line starter and do so by only giving up one MLB regular in the process. Edman is a valuable part of their position player core, but clearly falls behind every other regular starter in terms of importance to the team. Masyn Winn is the shortstop of the future and Victor Scott II may be on the fast track to St. Louis in 2024. Edman has a role to play in 2024 if he is still on the team, but he should not get in the way of them acquiring a top-end starter.

Hence and Graceffo are big losses when it comes to the future of this club, but again, the immediate future is in such dire need of help that they have to be willing to take that risk. Cease also presents them with two years of control and they could explore an extension, so that helps mitigate the loss a bit.

Ideally, the Cardinals would be able to talk down Chicago's asking price a bit more, but if this is the price tag they set, it may be one the Cardinals have to pay.