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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Daryl Van Schouwen

More trades on horizon for new White Sox GM

Dylan Cease of the White Sox throws against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 26, 2023 in Anaheim, California. (Getty Images) (Getty)

Grades on trades aren’t given when they’re made, but Chris Getz’s five-for-one deal that reeled in a handful of players of various achievement and future value for left-hander Aaron Bummer always will have sentimental merit for the White Sox’ new general manager.

It was, after all, Getz’s first as a GM. It won’t be his last this offseason, and it might not be his biggest, not with prized available right-hander Dylan Cease in his back pocket as a valuable trade chip.

While coming off a season in which his ERA doubled from 2.20 in 2022 to 4.58 and his WHIP climbed from 1.1 to 1.4 for the dreadful 61-101 Sox, Cease has a Cy Young runner-up performance in ’22 on his résumé, an arsenal of tough-to-connect-with pitches and durability — he has not missed a start in three seasons. Contending teams such as the Dodgers are considering what they’d be willing to give up in a trade.

 The Sox are listening because they’re probably not going to be a postseason team in 2024 and Cease can become a free agent after 2025. Two seasons after winning the American League Central and after a failed rebuild and having lost money in 2023, the 2024 Sox likely will cut payroll while attempting to construct some sort of new foundation on which to build a better baseball product.

Trades and free agency are where it’s at for Getz.

“I still think it’s going to be dabbling in both,” Getz said. “And there’s going to be a pace to each avenue. And there could be a point where it just makes sense to act on a trade to fill some of our needs and set us up for the future, or we’re able to convert on a free agent. So still open-minded. We’re working in both spaces right now.”

At the general managers meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, in the first week of November, Getz had conversations that laid groundwork and built relationships. He got to know other GMs on a more personal level.

“I really enjoyed the couple of days doing that, and obviously there are opportunities to speak to agents, as well,” Getz said after making the Bummer deal that brought right-hander Mike Soroka, left-hander Jared Shuster, infielders Nicky Lopez and Braden Shewmake and righty Riley Gowens and before signing free-agent shortstop Paul DeJong to a one-year deal Tuesday. 

“But to have everyone on one site, talking baseball, talking about the Sox, talking about the direction of your club, it’s a unique opportunity. I felt like we took advantage of it.”

Getz, 40, was an assistant GM and farm director before chairman Jerry Reinsdorf selected him to be the top decision-maker after firing Ken Williams and Rick Hahn late last season.

“First year in this role, it’s important to learn the behavior and learn the styles of other GMs and get out there, and the same thing goes with some of these agents,” Getz said. “With some, you have really strong relationships, and some others you need to grow further.”

Getz and assistant GM Josh Barfield, senior adviser to pitching Brian Bannister, director of player personnel Gene Watson — all new hires — and holdover assistant GM Jeremy Haber and second-year manager Pedro Grifol “have a clear understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish in the short term and long,” Getz said.

“Nobody wants to go through 101 losses,” Grifol said. “The good thing is I know this organization well. I know what we need to develop. So does Chris and the front office. We’re working to get this right. We don’t want to do this again.”

There are multiple elements of the vision, and it includes being better defensively, which in turn gives pitchers more freedom to attack the strike zone. It also includes being more athletic overall, putting together more competitive at-bats, controlling the strike zone better from pitching and hitting standpoints and promoting a tighter-knit clubhouse.

 “I’ve regularly been communicating [a vision] to our staff,” Getz said. “On every situation, every scenario, every opportunity that comes your way, it’s a lot easier to make a sound decision when you know what you’re trying to align with.”

If a sound decision involves parting with Cease or DH Eloy Jimenez to build what Getz wants built, so be it. At the GM meetings, Getz said, “I don’t like our team,” and that no player was untouchable.

“Dylan is an established major-league starter with front-end ability, and there isn’t a team that wouldn’t want Dylan Cease,” Getz said. “And Eloy is a power bat that any lineup would benefit from having. Those types of moves are under consideration; they are. If we feel like we can multiply or strengthen our group both presently and in the future, then we’re going to look at that.”

But a trade of Cease must “make sense,” Getz said. It would probably have to involve multiple prospects and a young starter.

“We’ve got some young arms in our system that are maturing; I don’t want to rush them to the majors,” Getz said. “That’s unfair to them and unfair to the White Sox.”

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