Keuchel declined the Astros' one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer and became a free agent Monday, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. As expected, Keuchel will hit the open market after posting a 3.74 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 153:58 K:BB across 34 starts (204.2 innings) for the Astros in 2018. The 30-year-old should draw plenty of interest given his sustained success over the past five seasons (67-45 with a 3.28 ERA across 950.1 innings).
Keuchel was issued a $17.9 million qualifying offer from Houston on Friday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. As expected, the Astros will look to keep the left-hander under contract for another season after he finished with a 3.74 ERA and 1.31 WHIP across 34 starts in 2018. Keuchel will have 10 days to decide whether to accept the offer or become a free agent.
Keuchel will start Game 3 of the ALCS against the Red Sox, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. This wasn't a matter of if, but rather a matter of when. Keuchel will now line up for the first game of the series taking place in Houston, though it's currently unclear who will take the ball for Boston. As things stand now, this would potentially line up the southpaw for a Game 7 assignment should the series last that long.
Keuchel started Game 3 of the ALDS in Monday's series-clinching win over the Indians but didn't factor into the decision. He went five innings and gave up two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out two. Keuchel got his postseason off to a solid start with Monday's performance even though he was in line to get the loss before the Astros scored three in the seventh. Houston hasn't announced its rotation for the ALCS yet, but Keuchel will likely start one of the first three games.
Keuchel allowed one run on five hits and one walk while striking out two in a 5-2 win over Baltimore in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader. As planned, Keuchel threw three innings. Not planned was the left-hander needing to scatter six baserunners. He had traffic on the basepaths in each inning, but he managed his way out of significant trouble in a tuneup for the postseason.