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The latest Keuchel free-agent rumors

MLB.com

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.

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.

Angels could pursue Keuchel
Dec. 10: The Angels are seeking rotation upgrades and have been more engaged than anticipated on the top free agents, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required).

Major League sources told Rosenthal that the club made "quiet runs" at Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi before they signed with the Nationals and Red Sox, respectively.

The Angels could now turn their attention to Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, J.A. Happ and Yusei Kikuchi, among others, according to Rosenthal.

Keuchel's reliability could be especially enticing for the team, given the injury histories of its current rotation options, which include Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs, Nick Tropeano and JC Ramirez, but not Shohei Ohtani, who won't pitch in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in October.

Which teams might be in on Keuchel?
Dec. 10: The market for free agent Dallas Keuchel is still a bit hazy as the Winter Meetings get underway in Las Vegas.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported Monday that the Braves, Phillies and Reds are the top three teams in on the left-hander, but MLB.com's Mark Bowman has heard something different. Per Bowman, the Braves have not had discussions regarding Keuchel. And MLB.com's Mark Sheldon previously reported that the Reds' interest in Keuchel was being overblown.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Braves, Reds and the Phillies are three prime teams on Keuchel. But what if Yankees lose out on Happ. Might they pounce?

Tweet from @mlbbowman: Nothing has changed with the Braves regarding Dallas Keuchel. They have not had any discussions regarding Keuchel.

It's possible the connection between Keuchel and the Braves was floated by Keuchel's representatives to get the Phillies to up their offer. Philadelphia is reportedly in on the 30-year-old after missing out on Patrick Corbin, who signed with the Nationals.

Meanwhile, the Yankees are focusing their attention on J.A. Happ rather than Keuchel, but Heyman speculates that the club could jump in on Keuchel if they miss out on Happ.

According to George A. King III of the New York Post, there is "industry buzz" that the Yanks would like to sign Happ to no more than two years, while the left-hander is believed to be looking for three.

New York was also unwilling match the lengthy contracts given to Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi, causing those pitchers to sign elsewhere. It's possible the same could happen with Happ.

Video: Braves remain heavily interested in Keuchel

Is Keuchel now the top free-agent starter?
Dec. 6: The Red Sox worked fast to reunite with Nathan Eovaldi, landing the righty with a four-year deal only two days after the Nationals gave a reported $140 million over six years to lefty Patrick Corbin. Those two represented arguably the top free-agent starting pitchers this offseason.

Does that make Dallas Keuchel -- a reliable, durable, in-his prime southpaw -- the clear No. 1 name among starters on the open market?

The 30-year-old does have an impressive resume, starting with his 2015 AL Cy Young Award. Keuchel also sports a 3.28 ERA over his past five seasons, which is 16th best in baseball over that span (minimum 500 innings pitched). His 950 1/3 frames since '14 also represent the 13th most in MLB.

While Keuchel's repertoire isn't overwhelming -- he's more of a command pitcher who relies on his sinker to get grounders and keep the ball in the park -- his age, performance and experience, including a 3.31 ERA over 51 2/3 postseason innings in his career, suggest he's now ranked No. 1 in the free-agent market for starters.

There's a difference, however, between being considered the top name and being the top target. Other intriguing names in the mix include fellow vets J.A. Happ and Charlie Morton, who have pitched extremely well the past couple of seasons and -- here's the key factor -- should cost less in terms of dollars and years than Keuchel. Same goes for Japanese lefty Yusei Kikuchi, who was posted by the Seibu Lions earlier this week and is considered an intriguing arm with mid-rotation potential.

With Corbin off the board, Phils turn attention to Keuchel
Dec. 4: With Patrick Corbin off the board, having signed a six-year, $140 million deal with the Nationals, according to MLB.com sources, the Phillies, who were aggressively pursuing Corbin, will turn their sights on Keuchel. 

MLB.com's Todd Zolecki acknowledged as much on Tuesday, noting that the club will also pursue J.A. Happ. The Athletic's Jayson Stark echoed those reports. 

Tweet from @jaysonst: In answer to your #Phillies questions, they continue to talk with J.A. Happ & Dallas Keuchel. @MattGelb has raised Yusei Kikuchi as a possibility. And I've long suspected they'd end up trading for a starter (Robbie Ray?) and signing a FA bat and reliever (Miller/Britton/Kimbrel?)

Philly signing either Keuchel or Happ would give the club far more financial bandwidth than Corbin would have to sign Manny Machado and/or Bryce Harper to a potential megadeal. Happ has been seeking a three-year contract, per Zolecki, and Keuchel is believed by most analysts to net a deal in the four- to five-year range, but not for as many dollars as Corbin. Machado and Harper have been touted to potentially sign among the richest contracts in baseball history.

The Phillies reportedly made a five-year offer to Corbin, per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, though it's unclear for how many dollars. 

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Phillies, like yankees, offered 5-year deal for Corbin

Philly has built a promising starting rotation, but its entire five-man unit -- Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez and Zach Eflin -- is right-handed, which is why the club is in the market for a lefty. The club is also pursuing top-end bullpen help. 

Blue Jays' interest in Keuchel might not be as strong as believed
Dec. 3: After a disastrous season from their starting pitching, the Blue Jays reportedly are interested in bolstering their rotation by adding Keuchel, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. But MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm tempered those speculations on Monday, saying "the premise doesn't pass muster." 

"Keuchel seems all but guaranteed to get at least a three-year deal on the open market, and he could even get as many as four or five. Toronto has the need -- and the roster space -- to accommodate that type of deal, but it also doesn't make any sense for a rebuilding team to make such a lengthy commitment to a 30-year-old who arguably is on the decline.

Citing a source, Chisholm writes that the Blue Jays have discussed just about every free-agent possibility, but he goes on to write that the club signing the veteran "seems pretty unrealistic."

"Expect the Blue Jays to target a couple of mid-level arms for the rotation this winter. That could come in free agency or trade, but it's extremely unlikely to involve the multi-year signing of one of the top guys on the market."

Toronto starters last year posted a 5.14 ERA, the third worst in the Majors, with a 7.3 WAR, per FanGraphs, tied for ninth worst -- all from a unit that was supposed to be one of the club's biggest strengths. The Jays' rotation spiraled even further after trading J.A. Happ to the Yankees on July 26.

Their Nos. 1 and 2 starters, Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman, have both been lauded for their upside, but both have battled injuries and struggled to be consistent. Each also has been linked to multiple trade rumors and their club control is down to just two years apiece, which could diminish their value even more. As a rookie, Ryan Borucki showed promise to the tune of a 3.87 ERA over 17 starts, but the Blue Jays lost 10 of those contests. Sam Gaviglio was 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA.

So if the Blue Jays are looking to upgrade, the rotation might be a strong place to start. However, it's unclear if the club is necessarily looking to refurbish its roster, at least through the free-agent market. Keuchel has been touted by most insiders to receive a contract anywhere from $60 million to 90 million, and he is tied to qualifying offer compensation. He's also entering his age-31 season and the Jays in the past have built their pitching through their farm system. 

It wouldn't be completely out of the realm of possibility for Toronto to pursue the veteran to help bolster its staff, but the interest also could be chalked up to due diligence, as Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith echoed. 

Tweet from @bnicholsonsmith: #BlueJays check in on just about all FAs, but would be a surprise if they were a serious threat for Keuchel. Jays need pitching, but lower-tier more likely. Front office has suggested it will pass on top free agents, prompting Boras (Keuchel's agent) to say Jays have 'Blue Flu' https://t.co/l8YALYqASQ

Dallas Keuchel