Once again, trade rumors have begun to float around White Sox right-hander and ace Dylan Cease.
This morning, Ken Rosenthal provided an update on teams that are in the mix for the White Sox star hurler, and the Cardinals were listed as one of those teams. Other teams listed were the Yankees, Orioles, Dodgers, and Red Sox.
I've been saying for a while that I didn't expect another addition to the rotation. This is mainly because we know how the front office operates, and that doesn't inspire much confidence. But Rosenthal is a very reliable source, and if he says the Cardinals are in on Cease, then I'll believe it. I sure hope my prior prediction about rotation additions doesn't come true and that the Cardinals still have one more move up their sleeves.
The Cardinals are coming off their worst season in over three decades. They finished below the .500 mark for the first time since 2007 and missed the postseason for the first time since 2018 thanks to an uninspiring 71-91 season.
While I do think the Cardinals are in a far better position now than they were entering last season, there is still a lot of work to be done, and I'm still not convinced that they're the favorites to even win the NL Central.
But a trade for Cease would upgrade them to World Series contender status. It all depends, however, on what the Cardinals are willing to give up, which we'll discuss below.
What will the Cardinals have to give up for Cease?
It's obvious that it's going to take a significant haul. It's going to have to be similar to the Matt Holliday trade in 2009. Some fans were worried about giving up Brett Wallace, who was the team's top prospect at the time. But it was a classic example of having to give to get. John Mozeliak reached his puke point with that deal. In the end, it worked out well for the Cardinals.
So, we know that Mozeliak has been able to do something like this in the past. It's certainly been a while though, and his recent track record isn't good.
In light of the recent news about Tommy Edman and his ailing wrist, I think it's safe to say we can count him out of a potential deal for Cease. Plus, the Cardinals are banking on him being their everyday center fielder.
The Cardinals can still deal from their outfield logjam. They can find a new home for Dylan Carlson or Alec Burleson in a trade. There are options in the infield too that could be used as trade bait.
Brendan Donovan and Nolan Gorman seem to me like the pieces the White Sox would be most interested in, but the Cardinals also picked up some good prospects at the trade deadline last year. The most notable name on the infield side is Thomas Sagesse, who came to St. Louis from the Rangers in the Jordan Montgomery deal.
There are also some intriguing pitchers that the Cardinals grabbed such as Tekoah Roby, Adam Kloffenstein, and Sem Robberse. Tink Hence is someone the White Sox might also have interest in. These are all pieces that could be included in a package for Cease.
Again, it's going to depend on what the Cardinals are actually willing to give up. My prediction is that it's going to take one of Gorman and Donovan as well as one of Burleson or Carlson. It might even take some of the prospects listed. An unpopular opinion of mine is that it will likely take Victor Scott II as well
Regardless of whether or not the Cardinals want to give up certain players, there's no excuse not to get it done. They have the pieces necessary to make this deal happen.