Chicago White Sox trade Dylan Cease to the San Diego Padres, ending the ace’s 5-year run on the South Side

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dylan Cease was one of the most sought-after pitchers on the trade market.

Even Cease couldn’t help get caught up in following every drip of trade speculation.

“It’s exciting to people,” Cease said Wednesday morning at Camelback Ranch. “It’s good for the game in the sense of, it’s exciting to fan bases. People like seeing it, so I get it. It’s fun and exciting but it’s just not a main focus.”

Cease learned his fate Wednesday evening as the Chicago White Sox traded the right-handed pitcher to the San Diego Padres, a source confirmed to the Tribune. The trade became official late Wednesday, with the Sox receiving right-handed pitchers Drew Thorpe, Jairo Iriarte and Steven Wilson and outfielder Samuel Zavala.

Thorpe (No. 5), Zavala (No. 7) and Iriarte (No. 8) were ranked among the top 10 prospects in the Padres organization by

Wilson and Thorpe will be in the Sox major league camp. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated outfielder Peyton Burdick for assignment.

Cease, 28, went 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA and 214 strikeouts in 33 starts in 2023.

Cease showed signs of success since the Sox called him up in July 2019. Acquired from the Cubs in a 2017 trade, Cease was 43-35 with a 3.83 ERA and 792 strikeouts during five seasons on the South Side.

He put it all together in 2022, going 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 32 starts. Cease finished second to Justin Verlander in the American League Cy Young Award voting.

While the ERA was higher in 2023, Cease still ranked fifth in the AL in strikeouts. He handled all the trade talk this spring in strides.

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“I really enjoy Chicago,” Cease said Wednesday morning. “I’ve made a lot of good friendships with this group. It’s been a really good atmosphere (this spring). To me, there really are no negatives with this. I just want to perform and do my best.”

While reports resurfaced Tuesday of a potential deal, he remained focused and struck out eight in 3 1/3 innings against the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Ballpark.

“It just is not something that’s really that big of a deal,” Cease said of the speculation after Tuesday’s game. “I mean, it’s out of my control. Really, I just want to perform. Either way, I don’t view it as a negative.”

He met with reporters again Wednesday morning — long before the trade went through — further discussing the topic.

“I’m like a fan with it, just seeing what’s going on — this rumor or that rumor,” he said. “The only thing I want is to perform well.

“At this point it’s happened so many times in the last couple months, it feels like noise. I definitely see what’s being said and people send me stuff and all that, but if I was overly focused on that, it would be hard to perform. So I just prioritize performance over everything.”

That performance is heading West.

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Thorpe, 23, is ranked the No. 85 overall prospect in baseball according to He joined the Padres from the New York Yankees as part of the Juan Soto trade this offseason.

Thorpe went a combined 14-2 with a 2.52 ERA, 182 strikeouts and a 0.98 WHIP in 23 starts with Class A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset in the Yankees system in 2023. He led all Yankees minor-league pitchers in wins, ERA and strikeouts on the way to being named Pitching Prospect of the Year.

Iriarte, 22, had a combined 3-4 record with a 3.49 ERA, 128 strikeouts and a .216 opponents average in 27 games (21 starts) last season between Class A Fort Wayne and Double-A San Antonio in the Padres system. He averaged 15.6 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched in his 13 outings (seven starts) with San Antonio after being promoted from Fort Wayne on July 14.

Wilson, 29, had a 3.91 ERA, .185 opponents average, 22 holds and 57 strikeouts in 52 relief appearances with the Padres last season. He ranked 10th among National League relievers in holds.

Wilson has a 5-4 career record with a 3.48 ERA, 27 holds, one save and 110 strikeouts in 102 games (one start) during two seasons with the Padres.

Zavala, 19, spent most of last season at Class A Lake Elsinore, slashing .267/.420/.451 with 22 doubles, 14 homers, 71 RBIs, 83 runs and 20 stolen bases in 101 games. He bats and throws left-handed.

The trade is the latest move of an overhaul for the Sox, who went 61-101 last season. Only Michael Kopech remains among the five starters from the beginning of last season.