MLB Rumors: Padres More Focused On Landing ‘Longshot’ Dallas Keuchel Than Bryce Harper, Per ‘The Athletic’

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Due to all the attention focused on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado and their respective free agency sagas, not much has been said about Dallas Keuchel, who won the 2017 World Series with the Houston Astros and tallied his usual solid numbers for the team last season, posting a 12-11 record and a 3.74 ERA, per Baseball-Reference.

As hinted at on Saturday morning in a tweet from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Philadelphia Phillies could be one of the “possible landing spots” for Keuchel, who remains unsigned as of this writing. The San Diego Padres, on the other hand, reportedly do not see Keuchel as a good fit, per Heyman, but a separate Twitter post from The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Padres are still considering the idea of adding the 31-year-old pitcher to their roster.

On Saturday afternoon, Rosenthal took to Twitter to provide an update on the Padres’ negotiations with agent Scott Boras, who represents both Keuchel and Harper. According to Rosenthal, these talks have been “more focused” on Keuchel than on Harper despite the perception that he’s a “longshot” to sign with San Diego. However, the Padres are reportedly still interested in the left-handed pitcher “at a certain level,” and are also targeting other starting pitchers in free agency. No specific names were mentioned as potential alternatives to Keuchel in case the Padres aren’t able to sign him.

Aside from the aforementioned rumors linking Dallas Keuchel to the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres, the possibility of the Houston Astros bringing him back has also been discussed in recent days. According to Fansided blog House of Houston, Astros owner Jim Crane suggested earlier this week that he wasn’t closing the door on the chances of Keuchel returning to the team. The publication noted that Crane and general manager Jeff Luhnow neither confirmed nor denied whether Houston had made a new contract offer to the star pitcher aside from the $17.9 million qualifying offer he originally rejected.

Meanwhile, reports are conflicted as to how serious the Padres are in signing Bryce Harper and having him join third baseman Manny Machado as a second big-money addition to the roster. As cited by Yahoo Sports, Heyman noted earlier in the week that San Diego is still open to making another big signing, while San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Kevin Acee tweeted on Friday that the chances of the Padres signing Harper are very slim, unless he’s willing to settle for a “90 percent discount on his salary.”