Dallas Keuchel was one of the best pitchers available entering free agency in November 2018.
Keuchel remains one of the best pitchers available in free agency six months later.
“If you would’ve asked me on the first day of free agency, I would have said no way I’d be here on May 6,” Keuchel told Yahoo Sports. “This was not the plan at all. I would love to be out there playing ball and helping a team win. Because, to my career at this point, I’ve done more winning than I have losing and at a much higher clip. So what team wouldn’t want me to be out there? Am I the best at this point in time? No. But am I more than or better than some of the offers I’ve been given? Absolutely. That’s not me being greedy. That’s just my compensation in the market from what the analytical data is telling me. I didn’t come up with this. The front offices came up with this. So now they’re trying to tell me I’m less than what the analytical data is saying. How is that possible?”
Superagent Scott Boras said during spring training “several teams” were keeping tabs on Keuchel, but none are apparently willing to meet Boras’ asking price. And more than one month into the season, Keuchel seems unwilling to mark himself down for suitors.
He rejected a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer last fall from the Astros and is seeking a multiyear deal.
Keuchel told Yahoo Sports that Boras recommended Keuchel strongly consider multiple offers. But Keuchel compared his position to that of NFL holdout Le’Veon Bell, who passed on $15 million from the Pittsburgh Steelers last season because it didn’t match his self-defined value or include long-term security.
“I lead the ship,” he said. “Scott will give me information in general. He gives me necessary information for me to make a knowledgeable decision on my future. … And if it were up to him I would probably be signed at this point.”
Kimbrel remains unsigned as well
Also unsigned is closer Craig Kimbrel, who helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in October. Part of the complication in Keuchel’s opinion is teams are waiting until June 2, when draft-pick compensation is no longer owed to free agents who received qualifying offers.
“When people tweet at me, saying, ‘Hey, quit being the Le’Veon Bell of baseball,’ it is a funny line. But he stood up for himself. He stood up for his well-being. And I’m standing up for my well-being as well. It’s about principle in both situations. Now, I’m not looking to sit out this whole year. I wasn’t looking to sit out at all. But we are in this situation right now. I would love to sign tomorrow. I would love to sign right now. Or, I might have to wait until this draft pick comes off me. Whatever happens, happens. I’m not going to dwell on it. I’m going to be ready to go. That’s me right now.”
Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner, is throwing simulated 95-pitch games every five days so that he’ll be ready to step into a team’s rotation when he signs.
Keuchel compiled a 76-63 record in seven seasons with the Houston Astros. He pitched in 192 games (183 starts) and has a lifetime 3.66 ERA with 945 strikeouts in 1,189 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)