Yankees made a final offer for Chicago ace before Padres swept in with surprising trade

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox, dylan cease, yankees, mets
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

With the Yankees concerned about Gerrit Cole‘s availability in 2024, it was no surprise that they re-engaged with the White Sox regarding Dylan Cease.

Cease, 28, is coming off of a down season in 2023 but did pitch 177 innings, recording a 4.58 ERA. With that being said, the Bombers had discussed potential trade packages earlier this off-season, but the talks ultimately died down with general manager Brian Cashman refusing to trade Spencer Jones.

Instead, the Yankees sent several top prospects to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Juan Soto, but they did acknowledge that their pitching was still a bit weak. Cole’s injury leaves their rotation in disarray, so losing out on Cease certainly stings a bit more, given the timing.

The Yankees Had Been Eyeing Dylan Cease For Months

Cease has been a frequent flyer on the trade market rumor mill, but he tried to ignore all the noise that distracted him from his goal of performing at a high level. However, there’s no more looking the other way, with the San Diego Padres swooping in on Wednesday to acquire him in exchange for a number of prospects.

“It’s happened so many times in the past couple months, it really just feels like noise,” Cease said (MLB.com). “I definitely see what’s being said and people send me stuff, but I feel like if I was really overly focused on that, it would be hard to perform.”  

The White Sox Received:

RHP Drew Thorpe

RHP Jairo Iriarte

OF Samuel Zavala

RHP Steven Wilson

According to Bob Nightingale of USA Today, the Yankees did make an offer before the White Sox traded Cease to the Padres.

Many believed that the Texas Rangers were the likely destination for the young pitcher with two more years left of team control. Nonetheless, the Yankees now have to pivot to other options, and they would prefer not to spend big in free agency, given them a 110% luxury tax penalty. Blake Snell would cost upward of $60 million per season with the tax, and Jordan Montgomery is also priced out of their comfort zone.

Some have linked Micheal Lorenzen as a potential free-agent option for the Yankees, but he doesn’t even closely supplement a fraction of what Cole produces on a yearly basis.

For the first time in his career, Lorenzen reached 150 innings this past season, whereas Cole has pitched over 200 innings for two consecutive years. No matter who the Yankees acquired, it would not match up with Cole’s efficiency, so the team simply has to stay alive at this point, and they may have no choice but to rely on some of their cheaper options in the minor-league system.

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Mar 1, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees Could Go Younger

One player who could get a longer look during the regular season is Will Warren, a right-handed 24-year-old who hosts a 3.52 ERA this spring over 7.2 innings. Warren has the stuff to transition to the MLB level and put together a strong performance, but the Yankees know he’s inexperienced and will certainly have his bumps in the road.

With that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees considered a different player to acquire via trade. Shane Bieber stands out as a potential option, and even Jesus Luzardo could be on the radar.

Nonetheless, many are concerned about the rotation and whether they can withstand inconsistencies, especially with Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes bouncing back from injury. At this rate, it seems as though Marcus Stroman could be the opening-day starter, which would certainly be an indication that the team needs another premium starter.

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