Glass Half-Full: One Fewer Contender Desperate for Starting Pitching
The New York Yankees still need pitching. The Boston Red Sox could use some too. The free-agent market only has Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. Both are extremely talented pitchers, but they are much more expensive than Cease.
Cease is younger than those two and still has two more years of club control. He is also durable as Cease has made 30 or more starts over the past three seasons. He will cost prospects, but he will not cost a ton of financial resources. Teams might prefer to trade away some players than risk a contract over $100 million with lots of years tied up to a pitcher that will decline with age.
You only need two teams to have a bidding war. Maybe the Yankees prefer to pony up prospects to avoid the luxury tax. The Mariners need to make a bold move if they hope to jump Texas and Houston. Maybe Texas decides Cease is a good replacement should Montgomery leave in free agency.
The Chicago Cubs still need a pitcher to join up with Justin Steele to lead the rotation. The Cubs have a deep farm system and have not spent much this offseason. They could use the trade market to upgrade their rotation. We know the Sox and Cubs have done business together before considering the Southsiders got Cease originally from the Cubbies.