Before the Atlanta Braves decided to make a trade with the Red Sox that added Chris Sale to their rotation, there were a lot of possibilities being floated as to how the Braves were going to address their need for a starting pitcher. Sonny Gray and Aaron Nola were popular free agent targets early one before they ended up elsewhere and there were no shortage of harebrained trade proposals out there for a number of guys. However, one name that stood out from all of them was the White Sox's Dylan Cease.
Earlier this offseason, Atlanta had a clear interest in trading for Cease with multiple national reporters confirming that interest and some even going so far as to say that the Braves were the current favorites to land him. However, that chatter waned over time and once the White Sox asking price became more well know (at least two top 100 prospects plus more), the Braves weren't being mentioned anymore and many were wondering if the White Sox were going to trade him at all.
Well, the Cease trade rumor mill is churning back up again and while the Braves almost certainly remain out on him after acquiring Sale, it seems like it is for the best because some of the proposed trade packages out there are WILD.
The Braves were wise to not overpay for Dylan Cease
In fairness, some of these trade packages that are floating around are better than Chicago's rumored asking price from earlier in the offseason. Cease has loads of upside and the extra year of team control matters, so the White Sox should want to get a premium for him. Braves fans would feel the same way if it was their guy on the market.
However, Cease has also seen his velocity tick down recently, has exactly one season in his career with an ERA lower than 3.91, and walks a lot of hitters. We aren't talking about two years of prime Pedro Martinez here. For the Braves to match some of these packages, they would have to give up at least AJ Smith-Shawver and Hurston Waldrep plus a couple lower level guys with upside. Doesn't seem worthwhile, does it?
Would Cease have been a fine addition to the Braves' rotation and would his mustache have been right at home alongside Spencer Strider? Absolutely, but cost matters and it sure seems like the Braves bowed out of his trade market at the right time. Even if Sale doesn't work out which is absolutely possible, that doesn't mean missing out on Cease was a mistake.