White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease not 'paranoid' over trade rumors

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Friday, February 16, 2024

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A winter of trade rumors has given way to spring training for Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease, who reported to camp this week with the intention of starting the season with his current team.

That's just the part of the game he can't control and won't get "paranoid" over.

"It seemed like I was going to get traded, but here we are," Cease said Thursday. "That's why I try not to get too caught up in it until something happens. I wasn't overly concerned or paranoid about anything. I was focusing on getting my body ready. Wherever I was going to be sent to was second to that."

Cease spent the winter seeing a physical therapist "three to four times a week" as he's experienced triceps tightness over the past couple offseasons and he didn't want it to slow down his preparation for this year. In between, he kept up with the rumors -- at least a little bit.

"I had a lot of people sending me stuff," Cease said. "I talked to [agent] Scott [Boras] a lot. I talk to [White Sox GM] Chris [Getz] a fair amount."

Players being in the loop is more part of the game than it used to be, simply because technology allows for rumors to run rampant. Getz said he felt he owed it to Cease to keep him informed and also knew he could handle it.

The White Sox lost 101 games last season, so no one was untouchable.

"I don't worry about Dylan Cease just because of the makeup of the pitcher," Getz said. "Every day is about sharpening his craft and trying to get better."

Cease finished second in American League Cy Young Award voting in 2023, but his ERA jumped two points from 2022 -- 2.20 to 4.58. He's still considered a top arm in the AL and is under team control for two more years, so urgency to move him hasn't hit its peak yet.

It still doesn't mean it can't happen at any point during the spring or summer.

"As spring training goes on, it becomes a little more limited to improve your roster, but we're still in a period where there are players still out there and discussions on the trade standpoint as well," Getz said. "Still fielding calls from agents and other teams."

With a smile, Getz said the Baltimore Orioles hadn't called, considering the injuries they've already experienced to their pitching staff.

"I know he's well-positioned for the season and he's going to prepare for Opening Day," Getz said. "And at this point, it looks like it's going to be with the White Sox."

Cease said this was the best offseason he's had "in a while," mostly because his arm feels great. He's already been named Opening Day starter, assuming he's still with the team.

"If you're not prepared and ready for the season, you're going to go somewhere and not perform," Cease said. "I made sure to focus on my body. I definitely saw it [the rumors]. It would be impossible not to, but it wasn't keeping me from doing what I had to do."