Three targets the Arizona Diamondbacks should heavily consider pursuing

The Arizona Diamondbacks should consider pursuing these three players during the upcoming winter meetings.

Mexico's Randy Arozarena (56) looks over to his teammates after hitting a double against the USA
Mexico's Randy Arozarena (56) looks over to his teammates after hitting a double against the USA / Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY
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Dylan Cease

The Diamondbacks are in need of at least one more starting pitcher if not two. Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen are a strong 1-2 punch, and the D-Backs will hope that Brandon Pfaadt can carry his late-season improvements and Postseason success into the 2024 season. But after that, it’s a toss-up as to who will get the last two spots. Why not fill that with a potential high-quality option in Dylan Cease?

After finishing second in Cy Young voting in 2022, Cease had a lot of expectations for the 2023 season. However, he failed to live up to them, as he pitched to just a 4.58 ERA, 3.72 FIP, and 1.42 WHIP in 177 innings of work. His 27.8% strikeout rate was still a healthy remark but a step down from the 31.1% rate he posted in ‘21-’22. His 10.1% walk rate and 0.97 HR/9 are both about what you’d expect from him.

Cease gave up much more hard contact in 2023 than in 2022. Opponents upped their hard-hit rate from just 31.2% in ’22 to 41.5% this past year. Meanwhile, their exit velocity jumped from 86.8 MPH to 90 MPH. The one thing that didn’t change drastically was his barrel rate, as it remained at a constant 6.2% rate.

In Cease’s defense, he had no defense behind him and had a .330 batting average on balls in play. The White Sox had -59 defensive runs saved and -17 outs above average. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks were one of the best defensive teams in all of baseball. They had +46 DRS and +31 OAA. The former ranked as the 4th best mark among all 30 teams, while the latter was the 2nd most.

But one of the most important things Cease brings to any rotation is stability. He has made 97 starts over the last three years, the most by any other starter. Gerrit Cole has the second most at 96 games started. You know you’re going to get 32-33 outings from Cease.

Cease is under contract for two more years. Right now would be the time to see what the White Sox want for the former Cy Young contender, as the D-Backs would be buying low on him. Even if Cease can’t replicate his Cy Young season, I would easily take his 2021 year when he had a 3.91 ERA, 3.41 FIP, and 1.25 WHIP. A 3.80-3.90 ERA in 33 starts is still very valuable.