According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Braves are one of several teams engaged in trade conversations with the Chicago White Sox for Dylan Cease.
Atlanta has joined the Dodgers and several others who are engaged in trade talks with the Chicago White Sox for ace Dylan Cease.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 27, 2023
This makes sense on several levels. The Braves need a starting pitcher, and with Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray off the board, the free agent market looks much more bleak than it did a couple of weeks ago. Dylan Cease is also under control for two years and is from Milton, Georgia. So, there’s a reasonable expectation that if the Braves do trade for him, he might be interested in a long-term extension rather than waiting to become a free agent.
With so many teams in search of starting pitching, Cease isn’t going to come cheap. He’s an ace with multiple years of control. Every competing team will be calling the White Sox about his availability, and the Braves don’t exactly have a loaded farm system.
With that being said, FanDuel recently came up with a trade hypothetical between Atlanta and Chicago, with the Braves acquiring Dylan Cease for AJ Smith-Shawver, Dylan Dodd, Vaughn Grissom, and Owen Murphy.
The Braves could make a BIG move and add Dylan Cease to their rotation 👀
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) November 28, 2023
As a Braves fan, I can say with absolute certainty I would not say no to this deal.
AJ Smith-Shawver is an elite pitching prospect oozing with potential, but he’s still unproven. The hit rate on pitching prospects is extremely low, and even when they do hit, injuries oftentimes prevent them from reaching their full potential, as we’ve seen recently with Michael Soroka and Kyle Wright.
Vaughn Grissom is the other centerpiece of this deal. Some might believe he doesn’t carry the same value as other top prospects, but I couldn’t disagree more. Grissom was unfortunately rushed to the majors out of necessity far too quickly. If that wasn’t the case, he would be talked about in the same breath as the best offensive prospects in the game.
At 22-years-old, Grissom hit .330 with a .920 OPS at the AAA level. Very few players are putting up those kind of numbers in AAA at that age. The issue with Grissom, as far as the Braves are concerned, is his defense. He’s not a shortstop, and there’s not really anywhere else to put him. Perhaps the Braves try him out in left field, or they are better off trading him now while his value is still high.
Owen Murphy is an intriguing prospect that was taken in the first round of the 2022 draft. In theory, the Braves do need to work on replenishing all levels of their farm system, but if they are seriously considering a trade for Dylan Cease, all of that goes out the window. Alex Anthopoulos should have no problem trading away a player that’s years away from contributing for a guy who can help the Braves to the World Series in the next two years.
Dylan Dodd is also included in this deal. He’s close to being major-league ready, but at best, he’s a backend of the rotation starter. As is the case with Murphy, the Braves should have no problem including Dodd in a trade for anything significant.
I’m doing this trade 10 times out of 10. Unfortunately, the question is who says no? And the answer is the White Sox.
Braves Receive: Dylan Cease
In a perfect utopia, the Braves are able to land an ace with multiple years of control like Dylan Cease without giving up both AJ Smith-Shawver and Hurston Waldrep. I just don’t see it.
There will be far too many teams with way deeper farm systems vying for Cease’s services. If the Braves want to land him, they’ll likely have to get uncomfortable and fork over their two best prospects or major-league talent.
Photo: Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire