Trade for Dylan Cease
This is a tougher one to see happening, but it would be a huge boon to the Astros if they were able to swing a deal for Dylan Cease ahead of the Winter Meetings. We know for certain that the Astros like Cease as they pushed to acquire him at the trade deadline in 2023. However, the question at the moment is how reasonable are the White Sox being with their price tag and are the Astros willing to pull the trigger.
Getting a deal done for Cease right now is tricky because Houston already offloaded prospects Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford in order to bring Justin Verlander back which significantly hurt Houston's minor league depth. However, the Astros do still have guys like Jacob Melton, Joey Loperfido, and Spencer Arrighetti who could be very appealing to the White Sox and the Astros could (and probably should) include Jose Urquidy in any Cease deal as well.
In the end, it all comes down to the White Sox here. The Astros do seem to have the pieces to make a fair offer for Cease, but Chicago may be wanting to get a team to overpay for Cease. A guy like Cease who has two full years of cheap team control who also can be a very good #2/#3 starter is going to command a premium and the White Sox have a lot of problems to fix over there. There is also the problem that a big chunk of the league is looking for starting pitching right now which means it is going to be a seller's market especially when it comes to trades.
In the end, all the Astros can do is make their best offer. Adding Cease would solidify the rotation as a strength of the roster going into 2024. If it works out and the Astros are able to extend a couple of their other key pieces, they can look to try and keep Cease around beyond 2025. If not, they can re-evaluate things when the time comes without having to commit big dollars or years to him.