After a seven-season tenure with the Astros that included a trio of 200-inning seasons, an American League Cy Young Award in 2015 and an overall 3.66 ERA, Dallas Keuchel is now a free agent.
Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the left-hander.
Could Keuchel be missing piece for Braves?
Feb. 17: First, the Braves signed slugger Josh Donaldson to be their third baseman and brought back Brian McCann, who last played for Atlanta in 2013, to help at catcher. Most recently, the club re-signed outfielder Nick Markakis. That checks off three boxes on general manager Alex Anthopoulos' offseason to-do list.
One that hasn't been checked off yet? Adding a starting pitcher, ideally of the frontline variety. Could Dallas Keuchel -- the top starter still on the open market -- be that for the Braves?
"The Braves were one of baseball's most exciting teams in 2018 and appeared to be poised to be a powerhouse for the foreseeable future," MLB.com's Richard Justice writes. "What they do not have is a veteran at the front of their rotation. At 31, Keuchel is that and more. In the last five seasons, he's fifth in the American League in ERA and sixth in innings and FanGraphs' version of WAR. In that time, his 23.3 percent soft-contact rate is the best among all AL starters."
After winning the NL East with a 90-72 mark last year, Atlanta is going to be challenged by three division rivals -- the Nationals, Mets and Phillies -- that made multiple big-name additions to their rosters this winter.
The Braves have a longtime rotation piece in Julio Teheran, breakout starters like Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb, plus young arms ready to contribute (Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, Mike Soroka, etc.). A proven and durable performer like Keuchel, however, could provide a boost to help the club defend its division title.
Is Keuchel still waiting on Harper and/or Machado?
Feb. 16: Dallas Keuchel has been the top available starting pitcher for several weeks now, but his market appears to be at something of a standstill. Why? Perhaps in large part due to the two bigger names still available in free agency: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
In an in-depth rundown of how the dominoes could fall once Harper or Machado signs, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand explains how many of Keuchel's scenarios depend on where the slugging outfielder and/or star infielder wind up.
For instance: While the 31-year-old lefty seems to be a fit for Philadelphia, it's hard to see Keuchel getting a deal done before the Phillies let their interest in Harper and Machado play out first, according to Feinsand, who also suggests the Braves could be an option for Keuchel.
Is there a particular set of circumstances that Keuchel -- and closer Craig Kimbrel, who is in a similar boat as the top free-agent reliever on the board -- may be rooting for when it comes to Harper and Machado finding homes?
"The best news for either of these pitchers would be Machado or Harper signing with the White Sox and the other landing with someone other than Philly. If the Phillies miss out on both stars, it could spark a chain reaction that could land Keuchel or Kimbrel -- or both -- in Philly. More >
Keuchel still could be a fit for Astros in 2019 -- and beyond
Feb. 15: When the Astros inked left-hander Wade Miley in late January, the initial thought was that transaction decreased the chances of free agent Dallas Keuchel returning to Houston. And yet, the club may be keeping the door open to the possibility, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported.
Here's why a reunion with Keuchel still could work. It's true that the Astros have excellent rotation depth for this season, as Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh and Miley are backed up by Brad Peacock, and a host of youngsters like Forrest Whitley (MLB Pipeline's No. 7 overall prospect), Josh James (the No. 62 overall prospect), Framber Valdez, Cionel Perez and J.B. Bukauskas.
But with Miley in the fold on a one-year pact, the Astros now have (count 'em) four starters who can hit the open market after the 2019 season; McHugh and co-aces Verlander and Cole are the others. And the looming free agency of the latter two is something Houston's front office is going to have to face soon enough, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle writes.
Bringing back Keuchel on a multiyear deal would serve to protect the team against one or more of those pitchers departing next offseason, as MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal noted in an article for The Athletic (subscription required).
MLB.com's Richard Justice echoes as much, writing that Keuchel "was an important part of baseball's best rotation in 2018. To sign him to, say, a three- or four-year deal, would give Houston some certainty moving beyond 2019."
Why Twins make sense for Keuchel
Feb. 6: Having made three under-the-radar additions to bolster their lineup in Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron, is it time for the Twins to consider upgrading their rotation?
Minnesota currently has Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi in place. But beyond that trio are a number of question marks, including injury prone veterans like Martin Perez and Michael Pineda, as well as unproven youngsters Adalberto Mejia, Fernando Romero and Stephen Gonsalves.
Dallas Keuchel would provide durability and stability, which would strengthen the front of the Twins' rotation and allow the club to rely less on the unknowns as it tries to gain ground on Cleveland in a potentially winnable AL Central.
Minnesota's need for a starter is one of the biggest remaining holes for any contending club (subscription required) at this stage of the offseason, according to Eno Sarris of The Athletic.
Prior to 2018 with Berrios, Gibson and Odorizzi, the Twins "only once had more than two average starting pitchers on the team at the same time in the last 10 years," Sarris writes, alluding to the 2010 staff that featured Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker and Carl Pavano. "They could use a steady veteran starter, especially if he's more than that in year one."
At 31 years old and coming off solid 3.74 ERA over 204 2/3 innings, Keuchel should have at least a season or two left of providing quality starts and above-average production, which would make the Twins' rotation more stable going forward.
Angels a wild card in Keuchel market
Feb. 1: The market for Dallas Keuchel -- who has been the top free-agent starter available for several weeks now -- remains somewhat murky. A number of teams have been linked, including the Reds, Braves, Astros and Phillies at various times, but there hasn't been any firm connection in a while.
So while we wait, what about spinning off a prediction of where the veteran lefty, who has a Cy Young Award (2015) and two All-Star selections ('15 and '17) on his resume, could wind up?
"The Angels are a wild card here," MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince writes in a column listing six bold predictions for the month of February. "They say they're confident with their roster, but should they be? Their injury-plagued rotation didn't get considerably less iffy with the additions of Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill , and because they've limited their spending this winter to one-year deals, they can still do a Keuchel deal without exceeding the luxury tax threshold. The clock is ticking on Mike Trout (a free agent after the 2020 season), and this team would become a bona fide contender with Keuchel."
Indeed, the Angels do make for a good fit. They have lacked durability and proven pitchers in their rotation for years, as Castrovince points out. In fact, after Andrew Heaney, who led Los Angeles' rotation with a solid 180 innings in his first healthy season in 2018, the second most frames by an Angels pitcher came from rookie Jaime Barria with 129 1/3.
Keuchel may not be a truly dominant front-of-the-rotation type of arm, but one thing the 31-year-old is durable. He has thrown 950 1/3 innings over the past five years for an average of 190 2/3 per. Think the Halos could use that? Not to mention, Keuchel's 3.28 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over that span?
Other than Heaney, Harvey and Cahill, the Angels are set to roll with Tyler Skaggs and likely Barria. (Remember: Shohei Ohtani won't pitch at all next season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.) There's some intriguing upside in that rotation, for sure, but there's also plenty of uncertainty and injury risk, too. Keuchel would help solidify something that has been the club's primary problem the past few seasons. It's an added bonus that he's already very familiar with the AL West from his his seven years with the Astros.