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.
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.
Even after Miley signing, Keuchel still a fit for Astros
Feb. 3: While the Astros' signing of left-hander Wade Miley seemingly decreased the already slim chances of free agent Dallas Keuchel returning to Houston, the club is leaving the door open to the possibility, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
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 become free agents after the 2019 season; Verlander, Cole and McHugh are the others. 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."
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.
Do Braves need Keuchel to defend NL East crown?
Jan. 28: 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 completed yet? Adding a starting pitcher, ideally of the frontline variety. Will Dallas Keuchel -- the top starter still on the open market -- be the player to help Anthopoulos check off that item?
"Anthopoulos says he's only interested in starting pitching if it's a dramatic upgrade, that is, a front-of-the-rotation guy," MLB.com's Richard Justice writes about the potential of Atlanta inking Keuchel. "There happens to be one of those left on the market: Keuchel, the king of soft contact who has a 3.28 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over the last five seasons.
"At a time when Keuchel could be headed back to the Astros, the Braves are a third-place club at the moment, according to FanGraphs. Keuchel would go a long way toward changing that."
After winning the NL East with a 90-72 mark in 2018, Atlanta is projected by FanGraphs to go 82-80, which puts them behind the Nationals (92-70) and Mets (85-77) in a division that has had a number of active clubs this offseason. The Braves have a rotation stalwart 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 perfect for Phillies, and if so, why aren't they making the move?
Jan. 27: Dallas Keuchel is the top remaining starting pitcher on the free-agent market, and Steve Sax wonders why a certain team hasn't made a move to bring him into its rotation.
"Dallas Keuchel is sitting right there, and [the Phillies] could put him right in between those two studs, Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta," Sax said on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM. "And you put Keuchel in between those two guys, a lefty that's completely the opposite of those two right-handed guys? They're high up in the strike zone with nice velocity, and then you get Keuchel with the sinker that pitches away from righties, to complement these two guys that you've got in your rotation now, I'm baffled more by that than I am about Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Why aren't they going after Dallas Keuchel?"
One of the reasons may be that Philadelphia is waiting on a decision from Machado and Harper, the offseason's two premier free agents for whom the Phillies are considered one of the frontrunners, before turning their attention elsewhere, such as the starting rotation. Nevertheless, Keuchel would bring a different dynamic to what is shaping up to be a heavily right-handed group.
Could Astros bring back Keuchel, Marwin?
Jan. 26: When the offseason began, it looked as though both Dallas Keuchel and Marwin Gonzalez would be wearing a different uniform come 2019. But with both players still unsigned, is a reunion in Houston in the cards?
Astros owner Jim Crane not only declined to rule it out, but also expressed a desire to have them return to the club they helped win the World Series in '17.
"We've got a couple guys that were here last year that are a possibility to be back here [this] year," Crane said. "We hope that happens. ... Dallas is still out there -- I don't think he's signed yet, and Marwin either. Both great players and great for the franchise. They did a lot of work here and we appreciate what they did. They're always welcome. Maybe something will work out there. Who knows?"
Keuchel's free agency created a void in Houston's starting rotation that hasn't yet been filled, and who better to fill it in the case of the Astros than Keuchel himself? The former American League Cy Young Award winner has had up-and-down seasons since that '15 campaign, but remains one of the best in the game at inducing weak contact, particularly on the ground.
It's easier to see Keuchel returning to Houston than it is Gonzalez, who may not really be a fit since the Astros traded for Aledmys Diaz earlier this offseason. More >