MLB hot stove: Braves reportedly have Dallas Keuchel atop their free agent wish list
Atlanta wants a corner outfielder and a reliever in addition to a starter
Heading into the Winter Meetings this week the Braves are said to be seeking a starting pitcher and a corner outfielder, as well as at least one reliever. Veteran left-hander Dallas Keuchel is reportedly atop their wish list.
Keuchel might be the best free agent starter still on the board now that Patrick Corbin has signed with the Nationals and Nathan Eovaldi has re-signed with the Red Sox. The Astros made Keuchel the qualifying offer, so whichever team signs him will have give up a draft pick(s) and international bonus money to do so.
The soon-to-be 31-year-old Keuchel threw 204 2/3 innings with a 3.74 ERA (108 ERA+) this past season. His strikeout (7.7 K/9 to 6.7 K/9) and ground ball (66.8 percent to 53.7 percent) rates both dropped noticeably from 2017 to 2018. Keuchel has thrown 518 1/3 innings with a 3.77 ERA (106 ERA+) since being named the 2015 AL Cy Young winner.
The Braves are loaded with pitching prospects -- nine of their top 12 prospects are pitchers according to MLB.com -- but they're still seeking a veteran to stabilize the rotation going into 2019. Their rotation depth chart currently looks like this:
- Mike Foltynewicz
- Sean Newcomb
- Kevin Gausman
- Julio Teheran
- Touki Toussaint
- Max Fried
- Mike Soroka
- Luiz Gohara
- Kolby Allard
- Bryse Wilson
That is an enviable group of young pitchers. There is no such thing as too much pitching depth though, and if the Braves do add Keuchel or another free-agent starter, it would free up some of those young pitchers for bullpen work or even a trade to address other roster needs.
. He is currently our fifth best unsigned free agent.
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