Just like that, the Detroit Tigers are the favorite to win on Opening Day

The Detroit Tigers have not been the favorite in many of their games over the past few seasons, but heading into 2024, they might just be the favorite on Opening Day after the White Sox traded Dylan Cease.

Former Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) poses for a media day shoot.
Former Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) poses for a media day shoot. / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers may not be fully in tune with Opening Day yet, but in about two weeks, they'll be getting the 2024 campaign underway with a match-up against the Chicago White Sox. While the Tigers may have made some improvements, there were likely only a few people hopeful for an Opening Day win.

Even with the Detroit Tigers sending Tarik Skubal to the mound and the White Sox being in what feels like a downturn in their franchise trajectory, it felt like it would be a tough sell on March 28th as the two teams collide. With Dylan Cease on the mound against Skubal, it felt like the White Sox would find a way.

That could be a pessimistic point of view, writing off the game before it even happens, but in a matter of hours on Wednesday, that all changed. The trade market began to heat up as someone turned the stove on. The White Sox were shopping Cease on the trade block and finally found their suitor.

The White Sox completed a trade with the San Diego Padres, moving Cease out west in exchange for a group of prospects in the Padres system. Drew Thorpe has had a loud spring and is heading to Chicago. He was ranked San Diego's fifth-best prospect. Samuel Zavala is the seventh-best prospect, also heading to Chicago. They're also getting eighth-best prospect Jairo Iriarte and Steven Wilson.

Detroit Tigers' path to an Opening Day win just got easier.

While most folks don't care too much about who the Padres traded to Chicago and which prospects are heading to the Southside of the city, the team can look forward to an easier game to start the season. Without Cease, the Tigers will have an easier time navigating the White Sox pitching staff.

Without Cease, the entire series shifted rotation-wise, and Opening Day, in particular, falls on a match-up where Skubal will get to face whoever the White Sox throws in place of Cease. They will likely lean on Michael Kopech to fill the role but could also opt to keep their rotation intact as set up this Spring and throw someone like Garrett Crochet in his spot the first time through.

It will be interesting to see what the White Sox do, but Cease has abused the Tigers for years and had a lot of success in pitching against Detroit. Being able to see someone else on the mound just makes it feel like Skubal has a chance to keep doing what he's been doing and find success, and hopefully, the offense can back him up.

It may not affect the line a ton by the team the sportsbooks start listing the odds, but with Cease gone, it sure feels like the Tigers should be the favorites on Opening Day.