With more than two weeks having passed since spring training kicked off, left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel is still among the top unsigned free agents in Major League Baseball. However, the 31-year-old pitcher appears to have at least two teams hoping to sign him before regular-season action kicks off on March 20 — the Houston Astros, whom Keuchel has played for since his rookie MLB season in 2012, and the Philadelphia Phillies.
On Wednesday, MLB Network and Fancred Sports insider Jon Heyman tweeted that the Astros, despite how they seem to be happy with their roster, are “still in touch” with Keuchel, who reportedly received three calls on the day right fielder Bryce Harper agreed to a 13-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. But even with Harper now officially a member of the Phillies, Heyman added that the team is “also in” and could potentially sign Keuchel to solidify their status as favorites in the National League East division. Per Heyman, the Phillies are favoring a short-term deal for Keuchel.
Heyman’s update on Keuchel was backed up on Thursday morning by ESPN’s Buster Olney, who took to Twitter to note that the Astros had “recent dialogue” with the pitcher. He added, however, that both sides were “not close to a deal” as of Wednesday night. No specifics were mentioned by Olney regarding the type of contract the Astros are offering the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner, but a tweet from The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal indicated on Thursday afternoon that Houston has dangled one- and two-year contracts so far.
“Offers not in range Keuchel is seeking. Desired terms not known,” Rosenthal continued.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 6, 2019
Regardless whether he returns to the Astros, signs with the Phillies, or joins another MLB team, Keuchel will be coming off a strong 2018 season with Houston, where he went 12-11 and struck out 153 batters in 204 2/3 innings. Aside from his AL Cy Young Award, Keuchel has also played in two All-Star Games and won the 2017 World Series with the Astros, as shown on his Baseball-Reference player page.
Given how Dallas Keuchel remains unsigned despite his credentials as a proven MLB pitcher, Neil Greenberg of The Washington Post wrote on Thursday that there could be a few reasons why teams appear to have shied away from him in free agency. Aside from how agent Scott Boras reportedly overhyped Keuchel by comparing him to legends such as Tom Glavine and Andy Pettitte, Greenberg speculated that the veteran lefty’s comparative lack of velocity might have pushed teams to look elsewhere to bolster their rotations.