Wanted: Cy Young Pitcher Looking for Work

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BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 29: Starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles during Game Two of a doubleheader at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 29, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

There is a Cy Young pitcher looking for work. He not only is a Cy Young pitcher, but a former world champion who can pitch on the big stage. His name is Dallas Keuchel, and he is the second of the big free agents still unsigned heading into the second weekend of the MLB season. Keuchel is another potential game-changing player who instantly upgrades any starting rotation.

What Keuchel Wants

Pitchers get hurt and often spend time on the injured list. Having depth is always a good thing, so it’s strange that a player of his caliber is still on the market. So what does Keuchel want? In the offseason, it was rumored he was looking for a five-year deal, and with agent Scott Boras, the dollars must have been high. Most teams are scared of giving big money to a 31-year-old pitcher who will be most likely declining as the contract runs out. Will Keuchel take a one-year deal and start the process all over again next offseason? Or, will he wait for a team to suffer a huge season-ending injury in their rotation and get multiple years in a contract?

Who is Interested?

As expected, a lot of teams are rumored to be interested in Keuchel, and why wouldn’t they be? He can make a difference this season for any contending team. Factoring in how often pitchers get injured or suffer dead-arm periods, it makes sense to have another starting pitcher. Keuchel is not a minor league pitcher, and he won’t accept anything more than a couple of rehab starts in the minors. He is rumored to be throwing simulated games, so it appears only a couple of starts will be needed.

Who Are the Rumored Teams?

Houston Astros

Let’s start with the former team. The Astros are World Series contenders and chose not to resign him, most likely because of having to resign their young core first. With top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley on the horizon, perhaps they felt Keuchel was not needed anymore. They previously offered one- and two-year deals to Keuchel, but he was not interested.

New York Mets

It is well-known the Mets are built around their starting pitching. The injury history around all of their starting pitchers is also well-known. In addition, Jason Vargas has not exactly pitched well in his one-plus year with the team. New general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has stated that he wants to win this year. He has reportedly been kicking the tires around Keuchel as he should. Could Van Wagenen strike and make a huge signing for the Mets?

Philadelphia Phillies

With the money the Phillies spent this offseason, this team has to win. So why stop now? This team can certainly use an upgrade to their rotation. In fact, it’s the only part of the team that was not improved during this past offseason. The Phillies were talking to Keuchel during their spending spree, yet it appears that even for a team that had said they were going to spend “stupid money,” his contract demands were just a little bit more than they wanted to spend.

New York Yankees

The Yankees are always involved with any free agent available. As we have seen with the Yankees, winning trumps all. General manager Brian Cashman looks into all players, but it appears they won’t sign Keuchel. Even with an older rotation that already has two pitchers on the injured list, it has not made the Yankees spend big on Keuchel. Gio Gonzalez was signed to a team-friendly one-year, $3 million contract. However, it will we worth monitoring the injury to ace pitcher Luis Severino. If he is going to be out longer than expected, the Yankees could make a move.

The Field

Any team who has designs on contending this year could use Keuchel, especially if they suffer a major injury to their rotation. This does not mean Keuchel will be signed. Agent Scott Boras has not said publicly that his client will take a one-year deal. Maybe he is waiting for the right spot to open up. One thing is for sure — once a starting pitcher gets hurt, the Dallas Keuchel watch will begin.

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