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Dylan Cease trade: Three reasons why Dodgers, Braves, others are circling the White Sox ace this offseason

Dylan Cease trade: Three reasons why Dodgers, Braves, others are circling the White Sox ace this offseason

The rumor mill continues to produce intriguing possibilities as Major League Baseball’s offseason draws ever closer to its annual Winter Meetings (scheduled to begin on Sunday, Dec. 3). Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease appears to be one of the most popular names on the trade market, having already been connected publicly to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves, among other teams whose interest has remained cloaked. In fact, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi said Wednesday that talks “have intensified” and that a deal could be made even before the Winter Meetings.

That two of MLB’s top teams have inquired on Cease should qualify as little surprise — after all, he’s only a season removed from a second-place finish in American League Cy Young Award voting. Nevertheless, this is the time of the year when the combination of cold temperatures and early sunsets can summon one’s innermost existential dread. Rather than deal with those feelings in an appropriate setting or a healthy manner, we’d prefer to occupy ourselves by breaking down why some players make for attractive additions. 

Below, then, we’ve highlighted three aspects of Cease’s game that have caught the attention of other clubs, including his top-notch arsenal and the possibility that his game has proverbial chicken remaining on the bone. 

1. Elite stuff

Let’s start with a simple assertion. If you want to be a frontline starter in this day and age, you have to miss bats. Cease does. He ranks 10th in strikeout percentage among the 104 pitchers to throw at least 400 frames since 2021. It’s not hard to figure out how or why he’s been able to rack up strikeouts.

Cease’s arsenal features two well-above-average pitches. His fastball clocked in at 95.6 mph last season, and featured nearly 19 inches of induced vertical break. For those new to the IVB metric, that’s a fancy way of writing that his heater has a lot of “rising” action to it.

For some perspective on how rare that combination of velocity and rise is, here’s a complete list of the other starting pitchers (min. 10 starts) whose fastballs averaged at least 95 mph and 18 or more inches of IVB in 2023:

Cease’s fastball, then, possesses some impressive traits. It’s not his best pitch, however. That designation goes to his slider, which has generated at least 40% whiffs in each of the last three seasons. Opponents batted .216 against it last season, and that…

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