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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.

Is Keuchel 'the soft-contact genius of his era'?
Nov. 16: Dallas Keuchel has led MLB pitchers with a 26.9 percent soft-contact rate during his career (among pitchers with a minimum of 1,000 innings pitched over the last seven seasons). His 59.6 percent ground ball rate is also the best in the Majors over that span. So when his agent, Scott Boras, called him the "soft-contact genius of his era," and "the greatest ground ball pitcher in the game," the description wasn't at all far-fetched, as noted by MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic.

In this era of sluggers belting home runs more often than ever before, soft contact and ground balls are premium results for a starting pitcher. Rosenthal notes that though the former AL Cy Young Award winner hasn't been as dominant in recent seasons as he once was, Keuchel has certainly been reliable in those categories.

Could Keuchel's free agency extend into the new year?
Nov. 16: Dallas Keuchel is one of the top starting pitchers on the free-agent market, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to sign any time soon.

MLB.com's Jim Duquette speculates that Keuchel may have to wait a bit to land the multi-year, big-money deal he's seeking. One key reason? "The available supply of left-handers could be a factor ... with Patrick Corbin, J.A. Happ, Gio Gonzalez, and Wade Miley joining Keuchel as free agents, as well as Japanese southpaw Yusei Kikuchi, who is set to be posted."

In other words, Keuchel has some competition on the open market. Not to mention, a number of other left-handers -- like the Giants' Madison Bumgarner and Mariners' James Paxton -- are in the mix as potential trade chips, too. While Keuchel may stand out some for his 2015 American League Cy Young Award and overall durability, there are other options -- and cheaper ones at that. 

To ease the burden on their bullpen, could the Brewers consider Keuchel?
Nov. 15: The Brewers won the National League Central and made it to Game 7 of the NL Championship Series while relying heavily on their bullpen, but The Athletic's Jim Bowden thinks the club needs to improve its starting rotation to ease the burden on its relief corps in 2019.

In his story (subscription required) looking at one move each 2018 postseason team needs to make to get back to October, Bowden names Dallas Keuchel as a perfect fit for Milwaukee.

"[Keuchel] would slide nicely in the rotation, bring more leadership, and with his strong character and sense of humor, would be a match made in heaven in the Brewers clubhouse," Bowden writes.

Just four pitchers threw at least 100 innings for the Brewers in 2018, and two -- Brent Suter and Chase Anderson -- didn't appear in the postseason. Overall, the club ranked 19th in innings thrown by starters, and fifth in innings by the 'pen.

MLB Network Radio predicts Keuchel will sign with the Nats
Nov. 14: Might the Nats be a dark horse in Keuchel's market? In a recent poll among its experts, MLB Network Radio predicted that the veteran left-hander will sign with Washington. 

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: 🚨🚨 FREE AGENT PREDICTIONS 🚨🚨The @MLBNetworkRadio team says:Brantley ������ #BravesCorbin ������ #YankeesEovaldi ������ #RedSoxGrandal ������ #AstrosHapp ������ #YankeesHarper ������ #NationalsKeuchel ������ #NationalsKimbrel ������ #BravesMachado ������ #PhilliesPollock ������ #Mets pic.twitter.com/zXhhCHEFXi

Keuchel has been linked to the Angels, Reds, Yankees and Astros, whom he turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from earlier this week. Each of the four are in need of starting pitching, but so are the Nats, who beyond Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg have limited depth, with Tanner Roark, Joe Ross and Erick Fedde currently slated to round out their starting five.

After a disappointing 82-80 season, with the prospect of potentially losing Bryce Harper to free agency and with the Braves, Phillies and Mets each looking like they will contend in the National League East in 2019, the Nats all of a sudden appear to be on the outside looking in. 

Video: Free agent landing spots for Cruz, Keuchel, Miller

By adding Keuchel -- who MLB Network Radio's Steve Phillips predicts will sign a four-year, $80 million deal -- the club could fortify its pitching staff with a power trio. The Nats have also been linked to Patrick Corbin, who is widely viewed as the top free-agent starter. 

Keuchel is represented by Scott Boras, who has executed multiple high-profile signings with the Nats, such as Scherzer's in 2015 and Strasburg's in '16. Boras also represents Harper. 

Are the Reds willing to pay up for a top free-agent starter?
Nov. 14: The Reds need pitching and are expected to spend aggressively this offseason, but MLB.com's Richard Justice writes that the contract demands of Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel -- arguably the top two starters on the market -- may be out of Cincinnati's "comfort zone."

Justice notes that the Reds could sign multiple starters, but they may look at less expensive pitchers. Nathan Eovaldi, J.A. Happ and Charlie Morton stand out as attractive options from the second tier.

Another factor that might deter the Reds from pursuing Corbin or Keuchel is the fact that they'll need to surrender a Draft pick to sign either pitcher after both rejected qualifying offers. Given the state of the team, adding a big-name starter won't make Cincinnati an instant contender, but signing two reliable arms would help.

Corbin, Keuchel unlikely to be hurt by Draft-pick baggage
Nov. 13: While some players who rejected the qualifying offer in years past have had trouble finding suitors due to the Draft-pick compensation attached to them, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand doesn't think that will be a problem for Patrick Corbin or Dallas Keuchel.

As Feinsand notes, the market for left-handed starters has shrunk considerably, with Clayton Kershaw re-signing with the Dodgers, David Price deciding not to opt out of his contract with the Red Sox, Hyun-Jin Ryu accepting the qualifying offer from Los Angeles and CC Sabathia re-signing with the Yankees on a one-year deal.

Corbin and Keuchel are arguably the only members of the top tier among all free-agent starters this offseason, J.A. Happ's reliability and Nathan Eovaldi's strong postseason notwithstanding. If any free-agent pitcher gets a nine-figure deal, it's unlikely to be anyone besides Corbin or Keuchel.

Keuchel rejects qualifying offer
Nov. 12: Dallas Keuchel has rejected the one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer he received from the Astros. It's not a surprise, with many expecting the left-hander to land a multi-year deal that carries an average annual value over $18 million.

Keuchel was one of seven players to receive a qualifying offer this year. Hyun-Jin Ryu accepted the offer, while Bryce Harper, Patrick Corbin, Craig Kimbrel, Yasmani Grandal and A.J. Pollock rejected it.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, new teams need to surrender one or more Draft picks to sign a player who rejected the qualifying offer. As a team that didn't exceed the luxury tax or receive revenue sharing, the Astros will receive a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B if Keuchel signs elsewhere.

Dallas Keuchel