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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Daryl Van Schouwen

Dylan Cease easing way into offseason

Dylan Cease works against a San Diego Padres batter during on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in San Diego. (AP) (AP Photos)

Coming off the best season of his career, in which he finished second in the American League Cy Young voting, Dylan Cease is taking a more measured approach to this offseason.

The White Sox ace is starting his throwing sessions later than he did last offseason, with the goal of handling a heavy workload and finishing strong.

“The previous season I had a lot of things that needed to be ironed out, whereas now more rest and making sure my body is prepared for the long run is a little more important,” Cease said on a call with reporters Tuesday. “So I’m able to kind of fine tune the little things as opposed to having to do a whole lot of work up front.

“But really I’m kind of following the same process, trying to develop my changeup a little bit more now. I’m still just building up arm strength and getting my body ready.”

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in four weeks. Last offseason, a labor dispute left players unsure of when spring training and the regular season would start. They had no contact with team staff.

“The biggest thing there is a lot less to work on,” said Cease, who finished second to unanimous Cy Young winner Justin Verlander in 2022.

Cease made 32 starts and pitched a career high 184 innings, finishing with a 14-8 record and 2.20 ERA and 227 strikeouts against 126 hits. He also finished strong, posting a 1.95 ERA over six starts in September and October.

Cease and the White Sox avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $5.7 million, one-year deal last week. He said he is open to an extension but is unaware of discussions between his agent, Scott Boras, and the Sox front office.

“I’d always be open to something that’s a fair, good deal,” Cease said. “To my knowledge, there’s nothing in the works in that regard. But I love Chicago and I would always be open to having a dialogue for sure.”

“With any young player that has showed elite, top-of-the-league level of performance, usually the teams — we just listen,” Boras said at the GM Meetings in November.

“We’re always open to what they have to say and how they look at it.”

Cease is not eligible for free agency until after the 2025 season.

While Cease may have exceeded expectations in 2022, many teammates fell short. The Sox were one of the most disappointing teams in baseball, finishing 81-81 and out of the postseason.

“Obviously we had such high expectations for last season,” Cease said. “If you take pride in what you’re doing and you really took that to heart, failing and losing like that, it hurts. I think if we take that to heart and do use that, any time you can have a little chip on your shoulder and have that extra motivation, it’s always a positive.

“The biggest thing for my motivation is knowing that it’s not given and that if I don’t show up and I don’t put the work in, it’s not going to happen. For me, I just want to perform well and contribute to a winning team and do what it takes, really.”

The Sox will open the season without closer Liam Hendriks, who is undergoing treatment for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

“I know a lot of people are rooting for him, not only the South Side but the North Side and all over baseball,” Cease said. “He’s always trying to help new guys get their feel. He’s very selfless. Love Big Liam and hope he’s doing well.”



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