3 back-up starting pitcher targets for the Braves with Sonny Gray off the market

Braves fans got a rude awakening yesterday with the news that Sonny Gray is off the market.

Sep 5, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84)
Sep 5, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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Dylan Cease

After a couple years of seemingly not wanting to make any notable trades, general manager Alex Anthopoulos has been busy on the trade market in recent seasons including a stellar 2021 trade deadline as well as acquiring Matt Olson and Sean Murphy. Assuming a world where the Braves don't want to hand out big time years and dollars to a free agent pitcher, one name that is an intriguing trade option is the White Sox's Dylan Cease.

As soon as the Gray news broke, rumors started coming in that the Braves were among the teams that were engaged in trade discussions for Cease. Frankly, it is hard to blame the Braves for considering him as he is a power rotation arm who was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2022 when he put up a 2.20 ERA and finished second in the AL Cy Young race. He misses bats as well which is always a plus.

In the end, it is all going to come down to the White Sox's price tag for Cease. There were some signs of regression out of Cease last season as his fastball lost a tick of it's velo, he got hit harder than you would expect, and his ERA jumped to 4.58 ERA thanks, in part, to finally getting punished for having a less than ideal walk rate. Assuming the Braves conclude that Cease's struggles last season were primarily because of all the trade chatter and the fact that the White Sox organization was a catastrophe last year, Atlanta should push to acquire Cease so long as they don't have to trade away too much for his two years of team control.