Former Astros left-handed starter Dallas Keuchel remains unsigned here on April 18. Several teams that expect to contend this season definitely having room in the rotation for someone who could be a stabilizing force. We sometimes go weeks without hearing a Keuchel rumor, but we got one on Thursday thanks to Jon Heyman:
Dallas Keuchel is believed open to the right 1-year deal, then resetting. One under the radar team: maybe Milwaukee, which has been linked to Kimbrel and has been willing to give up draft choice at times (ie Grandal, Lohse). Phillies, Padres, Astros are among other possibilities.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 18, 2019
- Keuchel being willing to take a one-year deal is significant. If he was still holding out for a multi-year deal the reality would probably be that it would take something drastic to make that happen. Something else to consider if Keuchel does sign a one-year deal: There would be no draft compensation if he signs after the MLB draft, which takes place June 3-5. Further, if Keuchel signs after that, he wouldn't be subject to a qualifying offer next offseason which is what attaches draft compensation.
- The Brewers "maybe" being "under the radar" doesn't seem like a lot of smoke in terms of actual interest. It seems more like a "this team would make sense" because the Brewers really would. Youngsters Freddy Peralta (7.13 ERA, on the injured list) and Corbin Burnes (10.70 ERA, 11 HR allowed in 17 2/3 innings) have struggled. Brandon Woodruff is sporting a 5.23 ERA and Jhoulys Chacin (6.52) has also been bad. The bullpen in front of Josh Hader -- and now the returning Jeremy Jeffress -- could stand to be upgraded, too, and that would happen with someone like Burnes going back to it. The Brewers' payroll is big ($127.5M) given the market size, but they draw well and have an owner who is actually willing to pay for the product on the field.
- The Phillies and Padres also do make a lot of sense, especially the Padres to add a veteran presence who has been through deep postseasons to work with some of the hot young arms.
- The Astros are going really well without Keuchel, having won 11 in a row before a loss broke the streak Wednesday night. No one in the rotation is really sticking out as a glaring weakness right now, either, but there's likely a comfort level here for both sides.
Keuchel, 31, is a two-time All-Star and won the 2015 AL Cy Young. Last year, he was 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA (110 ERA+), 1.31 WHIP and 153 strikeouts in 204 2/3 innings. He's certainly trending down but he's still a mid-rotation starter and his pedigree should make him an attractive add for whatever team eventually signs him.
Though he's been said to be throwing 95-pitch simulated games to stay in shape, he'd still need a minor-league "rehab" assignment before making the majors. From the time he signs with someone, factor in around three weeks or so before he makes his 2019 MLB debut.