Padres Complete Megadeal to Acquire Dylan Cease from White Sox

The San Diego Padres have once again swung a blockbuster trade to bolster their big league roster, landing Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 16: Dylan Cease #84 of the Chicago White Sox reacts against the Houston Astros during the second inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 16, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery remain free agents, but one of the top pitchers in the sport is on the move.

The San Diego Padres have acquired RHP Dylan Cease from the Chicago White Sox. ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to report that the two sides had reached a deal.

According to Jon Morosi of, prospects Drew Thorpe and Jairo Iriarte are being traded to the White Sox. Just Baseball’s Aram Leighton recently ranked Thorpe and Iriarte as the No. 5 and No. 7 prospects in San Diego’s farm system. Additionally, reliever Steven Wilson is also part of the return going back to Chicago for Cease, per Dennis Lin of The Athletic. Finally, Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that minor-league outfielder Samuel Zavala — the No. 11 prospect in the Padres farm system — will also go to the White Sox.

Long-rumored as a trade candidate, Cease went 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA and 3.72 FIP across 177 innings for the White Sox a season ago. It was a disappointing follow-up by Cease to his 2022 campaign, where he went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA and 3.10 FIP over 184 innings, en route to finish second in AL Cy Young Award voting.

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But while Cease has twice led the AL in walks and wild pitches, he’s also struck out at least 214 batters in each of the last three seasons. By acquiring Cease now, San Diego president of baseball operations A.J. Preller has secured two seasons of control over the talented righty, who can’t become a free agent until after the 2025 season.

Cease — set to make $8 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility — will join a rotation that includes Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish and Michael King. The Padres are hoping to rebound from a disappointing 82-80 campaign a year ago and return to the postseason. Snell, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, is expected to depart San Diego.

This will mark the first major transaction of the Chris Getz Era in Chicago. The new general manager is trying to overhaul a team that went 61-101 a year ago.

Thorpe, a second-round pick by the New York Yankees in 2022, went 14-2 with a 2.52 ERA and 182 strikeouts over 139 1/3 innings between High-A and Double-A last season. This is the second time he’s been traded this offseason, as the Padres acquired Thorpe in November as part of the deal that sent Juan Soto and Trent Grisham to the Yankees.

Iriarte, 22, also split the 2023 season between High-A and Double-A. He posted a 3.49 ERA and 128 strikeouts over 90 1/3 innings, with the bulk of his work coming as a starting pitcher.

Nelson is a 29-year-old reliever, who has made at least 50 appearances in each of the last two seasons, logging a 3.48 ERA and 4.33 FIP. He won’t even become arbitration eligible until 2025, so he’ll be cheap depth for the bullpen, at a minimum, for the White Sox.

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Zavala is only 19, but had an excellent season between Low-A and High-A last season, homering 14 times, driving in 77 runs and stealing 21 bases. Just given how far away he is from the majors, Zavala might be the biggest wild card in this deal, and how he pans out will likely go a long way in determining how this deal is ultimately viewed for both sides.