Not that the Chicago White Sox even sniffed around the idea of signing Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto but his signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers could increase the likelihood of a Dylan Cease trade.
On Thursday, Yamamoto agreed to a 12-year deal with the Dodgers worth $325MM. Yamamoto's deal with the Dodgers likely will lead to a flurry of activity across Major League Baseball ahead of the holiday on Monday.
For the White Sox, there was a belief that the team was waiting out the markets for Yamamoto and Shohei Ohtani before engaging teams on a possible trade of Cease. With the Dodgers having landed both players while also trading for Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays, it's likely that they will not be involved in Cease trade talks moving forward.
For teams in the market for starting pitching, the decision may now be whether to target 2023 National League Cy Young Award Winner Blake Snell in free agency or trade for Cease. Cease was a runner-up for the American League Cy Young Award in 2022 and is under team control for two more seasons.
Three teams that could be of watch for a potential Cease trade would be the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago Cubs. It's believed that the White Sox have already discussed a Cease trade with the Braves and Reds at the Winter Meetings earlier this month but there was not a sense of urgency at the time. The Cubs have been in trade discussions with the Cleveland Guardians for starting pitcher Shane Bieber but may circle back to their former top-pitching prospect.