Keuchel isn't particularly close to signing with any team, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. It's not completely surprising that Keuchel would take some time to find a suitor, as the lefty's valuation of himself as a recent Cy Young winner likely differs from those of front offices, who see him as a 31-year-old with a fastball that sits in the high 80s. Still, to see him still sitting at home in early March with no particularly strong rumors is unexpected. At this point, he may wind up signing a short-term deal with a contender that loses a starter to injury. There's a risk that his start to the regular season is delayed if he can't find a spot soon.
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 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.