New Dylan Cease trade rumors are a worst-case scenario for the Orioles

Dylan Cease pitching for anyone except the White Sox is bad news for the Orioles.
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles were involved in the Dylan Cease sweepstakes early on this offseason. One of the most coveted pitchers this winter, Cease was on the O's radar back in December.

The Orioles thought the price tag for Cease's services was much too high, a notion that was shared by a number of anonymous executives, and Baltimore eventually settled on trading for Milwaukee Brewers starter Corbin Burnes in a walk year instead.

But the Cease rumors are back, and not in a good way. Panic has gripped the front office in the Bronx after it was announced that New York Yankees starter Gerrit Cole had an MRI on his right elbow. The Yankees are now said to be exploring trade possibilities involving Cease, and they aren't alone.

Dylan Cease trade rumors are a worst-case scenario for the Orioles

The Yankees went all-in this offseason. After locking up Aaron Judge on a massive contract extension a year ago, the Bronx Bombers decided to execute a blockbuster deal for All-Star outfielder Juan Soto prior to the 2024 campaign.

But it'll all be for naught if Cole is unable to pitch in 2024. The Yankees are playing this whole injury issue extremely close to the vest, suggesting this could be a worst-case scenario for the reigning AL Cy Young Award-winner. If the Yanks are without Cole, trading for Cease becomes almost a necessity.

There are also whispers that the Texas Rangers are looking to swing a deal with the Chicago White Sox. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), the Rangers are in discussions with the White Sox about acquiring Cease.

While not a threat in the AL East, adding Cease to an already-loaded World Championship roster that includes former Cy Young Award-winners Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom would certainly impact the Orioles chances of bringing a World Series title back to Baltimore.

Cease, unlike Burnes, has two years of team control remaining and won't hit free agency until after the 2025 season. Whoever is able to acquire Cease is going to take a huge hit to their farm system. The White Sox have been rumored to be seeking two Top 100 prospects.

Few, if any, teams have as much minor league depth as the the Orioles, but both the Yankees and Rangers have four Top 100 prospects within their respective organizations, according to MLB Pipeline. It seems more and more likely that Cease will be moved to a contender before the season begins rather than at the deadline as a helpful supplement, and that's bad news for the Orioles.