By: Noah Wright
One of the better pitchers on the free agent market this off season is former Astro lefty Dallas Keuchel. He came off another solid season in 2018, and will be entering his age 31 season. In 204 and two thirds innings, Keuchel gave the Stros a 3.74 ERA, 3.69 FIP, and 1.314 WHIP. Again, he showed great control, keeping his walks/9 below 3, at 2.6. His .8 HR/9 rate is the lowest it has been since 2015, his Cy Young year. While Keuchel has never been a strikeout pitcher, he’s excelled in getting soft contact. This season, batters only made hard contact 28.1% of the time off of Keuchel. Since the off season has started, some teams have shown interest in the lefty.
One of those teams has been the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds would definitely benefit the most from Keuchel’s services. Last season, they didn’t have a single regular starter that had an ERA below 3. Their ‘best’ starter was Luis Castillo who had a 4.30 ERA, 4.32 FIP, and 1.220 WHIP. Plus, them signing Keuchel and a few other solid pitchers could show that the team is looking to compete in the next few years. They do have a nice offense that’s led by Joey Votto, with third baseman Eugenio Suarez, second baseman Scooter Gennett, outfielders Scott Schebler, and Jesse Winker, with prospects like Nick Senzel and Taylor Trammell borderline ready for MLB action.
The Blue Jays have also shown some interest in Dallas Keuchel. Adding Keuchel would add a veteran option out of the rotation. After all, the Jays could be in competition by 2020, and landing Keuchel on something like a 3 year deal could be very good for the team’s future. If Aaron Sanchez, and Marcus Stroman could bounceback and be healthy full time, the Jays would have a very good 1-2-3 leading off their rotation. That would be backed by a handful of young starters including Ryan Borucki, Sean Reid-Foley, and David Paulino. Then with a line-up with Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Danny Jansen, and Anthony Alford, the team’s future could look a lot brighter with Keuchel.
The last team I want to talk about is the Braves. The Braves seem like a perfect destination for Dallas Keuchel. The team is in win now mode, and has money to spend, and prospects to trade. Adding Keuchel to their rotation would bring in another veteran option to lead a fairly young rotation. Right now, the likely rotation would look something like this: Mike Foltynewicz, Julio Teheran, Kevin Gausman, Sean Newcomb, and one of the many prospects the team has. Plus the team has been in rumors of moving Julio Teheran. Keuchel would definitely be a small upgrade over Tehran, and the team could still make a move to acquire a proven pitcher with control left. The team should be looking into win now options. Outside of the rotation, they have a solid bullpen, and young line-up with notables like Ronald Acuna, Josh Donaldson, and Ozzie Albies.
Dallas Keuchel is one of the most sought after pitchers currently on the free agent market. He’s coming off another solid season in Houston, and should still be a decent pitcher out of the rotation for a handful of more years. While the Reds and Blue Jays may sign him to be help for the future, the best landing spot may be the Braves. The Braves are in a win now mode, and they should be looking to add proven pieces now.