Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Yankees make new offer in Dylan Cease trade talks with Gerrit Cole’s injury status unclear, per report

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The New York Yankees have made a new offer to the Chicago White Sox for right-handed starter Dylan Cease, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The Yankees’ decision to re-engage with the White Sox comes just a day after they revealed their own ace, Gerrit Cole, will undergo an MRI on his right elbow.

It’s unclear who, precisely, the Yankees are offering to the White Sox in exchange for Cease. Nightengale notes that the Yankees’ proposal is not believed to include outfield prospect Spencer Jones. Previous reports have suggested that the White Sox covet Jones, a 22-year-old outfielder with massive raw power.

Cease, 28, authored a disappointing follow-up to his breakout 2022 season. Whereas then he compiled a 2.20 ERA (180 ERA+) and a 2.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio, marks good enough to earn him a second-place finish in American League Cy Young Award voting, last year he posted a 4.58 ERA (97 ERA+) and a 2.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 

Cease has one additional year of team control remaining after this season, making him more attractive than the typical rental.

Despite that apparent step backward, CBS Sports highlighted several reasons last November why Cease appeared to be a hot commodity on the trade market. That included the possibility of him improving with the right guidance. Here’s part of our explanation

We noted that Cease has an outstanding slider, but he throws it in the zone just 37% of the time. In 2023, the league-average rate for a starting pitcher was 45.2%. Cease has gotten along just fine without filling up the zone with his slider, but if he could find a way to locate it more often for called strikes, he would stand to benefit in multiple respects: 1) presumably by lowering his walk rate (since he would fall behind less often) and 2) keeping batters from sitting on his fastball (since it’s the main pitch he throws for strikes).

Our own Mike Axisa broke down some other options for the Yankees if Cole requires an absence. Those include signing free-agent left-hander Blake Snell, trading for a different Chicago-based starter, or promoting an internal option.

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