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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Daryl Van Schouwen

White Sox ‘not very close’ to making deal

White Sox general manager Chris Getz talks to reporters at the Winter Meetings Monday in Nashville. (Daryl Van Schouwen)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dylan Cease will more than likely get traded. But if the White Sox were hoping to make that happen before the Winter Meetings end Wednesday, they might be disappointed.

As the baseball world waits to see where free agent Shohei Ohtan signs what could be the biggest contract in sports, not much was happening around baseball at these meetings on the first full day Monday. Sox general manager Chris Getz has one of the most appealing starting pitchers on the market as he takes on the daunting task of fixing up a reeling franchise that fielded a 101-loss team, but trade talks were far from hot when Getz talked to reporters at sundown.

“Right now, we’re not very close,” Getz said. “But just like other winter meetings, that can quickly change in a matter of minutes. That’s why you keep your phone on and continue to have conversations with every club and agents as well.”

Teams come to the winter meetings energized and to do business, though, and Getz did characterize discussions with other clubs regarding trades and representatives for free agents as “active.”

It might behoove the Sox to move on Cease after the top free agent pitchers have been signed, when demand for the 2022 Cy Young runnerup whose ERA doubled in 2023 could reach its peak.

“There’s certainly no urgency to move Dylan Cease,” Getz said. “And just like I’ve said from the beginning, if there’s an opportunity to help our club both near-term and long-term, we’ll look at it. But we’re talking about one of the best pitchers in baseball.”

Cease will likely go to a contender, a status the Sox are not be expected to assume in 2024. They could patch things with top free agents but won’t. With a lacking farm system and a major league team coming off two hugely disappointing seasons, they’re expected to trim payroll and lean to the long term.

The Sox won’t call it a rebuild, but when you’re trading Cease, how else would it be characterized?

“I would think ‘retool’ is a good way to phrase it,” Getz said. “I say that because we do have talent on this roster. Obviously it hasn’t worked, so you’ve got to be creative and find ways to improve it. We talk about the makeup and the chemistry of the team or certainly add depth or acquire players who are flat out better. We are on a pursuit to improve this team and there are different ways to go about it.”

Second-year manager Pedro Grifol believes the Sox are “in a great spot” to improve the team for next year “and beyond” via trades.

“We have some players that are really talented, and we’re not going to just move them to move them,” he said Monday. “It has to make sense.”

Getz traded Aaron Bummer to the Braves in November and other players, as well as Cease, could go, including designated hitter Eloy Jimenez.

“These guys have proven it at the Major League level, and if it makes sense for us, I think Chris and his staff will pull the trigger,” Grifol said. “If it doesn’t, then we’ll wait for the right time.”

Fan disappointment seems to be at an all-time low in the wake of the recent failed rebuild, but Getz, who replaced the fired Ken Williams and Rick Hahn to be the top decision maker, said the fans he hears from are supportive.

“I interact with fans,” he said. “If someone recognizes me — and that’s a rarity — people are excited. I’ve gotten really positive feedback.”

Getz laughed and said that might only be because they are face to face with him.

“But I’ve enjoyed those conversations,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for me to explain the direction of our club. I’ll take that time to do it because it’s worth it.”

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