Why NY won’t trade the Yankees’ “top prospect” for Dylan Cease

The New York Yankees reportedly refused to part with Spencer Jones in any Dylan Cease trade and now we know why.

2024 New York Yankees Spring Training / New York Yankees/GettyImages

The New York Yankees had a monster offseason, pulling off a deal to acquire Juan Soto and even signing Marcus Stroman against all odds. The Yankees should be better than the 82-80 team they were last season with Soto being a huge reason why, but Stroman being the best rotation addition is… a choice for a Yankees team that only has Soto for one guaranteed season.

On paper, the Yankees have a strong rotation heading into the 2024 season. Gerrit Cole is arguably the best pitcher on the planet right now after winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2023. Carlos Rodon has pitched like an ace in the past. Stroman and Nestor Cortes Jr. are All-Stars when at the top of their games. Even Clarke Schmidt showed promise in his first full season in the Yankees rotation.

The problem is, this game isn’t played on paper. Cole is elite, but there are question marks surrounding the rest of the rotation both in terms of durability and production. With that in mind, adding another starting pitcher makes a whole lot of sense for New York which is why the Blake Snell whispers have only gotten louder with Spring Training getting underway.

Snell or Jordan Montgomery seem like the easy targets as they’re just free agents, but if the Yankees don’t want to spend big money on another player, making a trade for an arm like Dylan Cease would make sense. The Yankees have expressed interest in acquiring Cease according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, but have refused to part with top prospect Spencer Jones. Now we know why.

Spencer Jones silents those who criticized Yankees for passing on potential Dylan Cease trade with massive home run

Playing in his first-ever Spring Training game, Jones launched an absolute no-doubter, 470 feet in right-center field. That kind of power is why he’s considered one of the best outfield prospects in the majors, and that kind of power is why the Yankees refuse to move him even if it’s for a clear rotation upgrade in Cease.

It turns out, the home run wasn’t all Jones did offensively. The youngster had three hits in three at-bats coming off the bench with all three coming at 100+ mph off the bat.

Jones is considered the second-best prospect in the Yankees system according to MLB Pipeline and is ranked 84th overall on the top-100 list. As he continues to advance in the upper minors, there’s a good chance that the 22-year-old will only continue to climb.

This past season, the former first-round pick slashed .267/.336/.444 with 16 home runs and 66 RBI in 117 games, splitting time in High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset. Jones showcased some of that light tower power and tacked on 43 stolen bases as well. For reference, only five MLB players stole more bases.

The high-end speed and power combination Jones possesses is something most players lack. That’s why he’s so highly coveted. If he can improve the hit tool and tone down the strikeouts a bit (155 strikeouts in 2023), Jones can become a legitimate superstar. He likely won’t contribute this season, but with Soto and Alex Verdugo headed to free agency at the end of the year, there could be multiple spots available in the Yankees outfield in 2025 and beyond alongside Aaron Judge.

Whether the Yankees should or should not trade Jones for a pitcher like Cease is a legitimate discussion that can be had. The Yankees’ window to win is right now, and Jones won’t help this season most likely. However, when seeing things like this, you can only marvel at the potential this guy has. The Yankees could be trading a future superstar for Cease who has similar upside, but also had a 4.58 ERA last season.

Fans who acted as if the Yankees passed on acquiring Cease for some sort of discount will have to do a double-take. One Spring Training home run is rather meaningless, but this one in particular shows the potential Jones has.

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