Potential Landing Spots for Dallas Keuchel
It’s not often you find a 31-year-old, former Cy Young award winner in free agency. It’s also not very common to see teams seemingly disinterested in signing that pitcher. Even so, it’s time to look for potential landing spots for Dallas Keuchel in 2020.
Things didn’t quite go according to plan for Dallas Keuchel last off-season. Coming off a solid 2018 season that saw the left-hander produce a respectable 3.74 ERA to go along with 12 wins, it was assumed that Keuchel would fetch a multi-year deal having just turned 30 years old. That deal never came to fruition and when spring arrived, Kuechel wasn’t even on a roster. Thanks to draft pick compensation, a strange market, and some fascinating Boras quotes, Keuchel had to wait until July to finally sign his one year deal with Atlanta.
His 2019 saw some ups and some downs, finishing 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 112.2 innings. Those numbers should be enough for the veteran to land a longer deal this year. With the Atlanta Braves signing Cole Hamels, Keuchel will most likely be pitching for a new team in 2020.
There are some obvious potential suitors as well as some dark horse candidates for the former World Series champion. Here are four teams that could use the veteran in their rotation.
Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels will be the most obvious choice for any decent free agent pitcher and Keuchel is no exception. Considering he is very familiar with the AL West, it makes sense for him to return to a division where he has dominant. Their current depth chart has Felix Pena and Dillon Peters as their fourth and fifth starters, respectively. Gerrit Cole makes a lot of sense for them, but even if they do manage to sign Cole, Kuechel would slot in nicely as a four or a five. With Andrelton Simmons at shortstop, the infield defense would be top-notch and fit nicely with Kuechel’s skill set.
More importantly for the Angels, Keuchel goes out there every fifth day and takes the mound. The Angels have suffered some devastating injuries to their pitching staff in the last couple of years. A two or three-year deal could make both sides pretty happy. Expect the Angels to focus heavily on Keuchel especially if they miss out on Cole.
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox have been tied to seemingly every free agent this off-season, signaling that they are going to be busy heading into 2020. Already inking Yasmani Grandal to a deal, the Sox have already shown a willingness to sign veterans to speed up their timeline in a pretty open AL Central. GM Rick Hahn told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times earlier in the off-season that he understands the fans’ frustration saying, “Oh, I get it. We all get it. We all get the impatience. We feel the impatience.” It’s clear that the White Sox will be making moves and Keuchel could be one of them.
The 2020 White Sox look similar to the 2019 Braves. Bringing Keuchel in as a bridge to the youth as well as a mentor worked out well for Atlanta and easily could be a similarily great move for Chicago. With Chicago seeing fewer and fewer weaknesses, they might pounce on Keuchel.
If not the White Sox, then the other Chicago team makes a ton of sense for the sinkerballer. Chicago’s payroll is extremely high at the moment and the top tier free agent pitchers are probably out of reach. GM Theo Epstein did say, “It’s an area in free agency that’s fairly robust this year — the depth of starting pitching options,” leaving one to assume that the Chicago Cubs will be looking for a starter and that they will be looking for the best deal they can get. Keuchel may find a weak market for his services once again. This might allow the Cubs to land a starting pitcher within their price range.
Another interesting idea to consider is Keuchel would likely excel at Wrigley Field. Groundball pitchers have famously done well there and Keuchel fits that narrative. With a strong offense backing him up, Keuchel could be the valuable innings-eater the Cubs desire.
Toronto Blue Jays
The one dark horse candidate is the Toronto Blue Jays. They have reportedly been checking in on multiple starters thus far.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 4, 2019
The Jays might also be looking to speed up their rebuild. With money to spend and the window starting to open, Dallas Keuchel may find himself north of the border.
Their rotation needs help too. Trent Thornton is currently listed as the ace on the team’s depth chart and while there is some nice talent in the minors, they are far from ready for the big leagues. However, somebody does need to pitch in Toronto. The Jays may use the money they save with their cost-controlled hitters to splurge on a starter or two.