Two days after still-unsigned free agent pitcher Dallas Keuchel was said to be lowering his asking price in order to get signed by a Major League organization, as The Inquisitr reported, new speculation has linked the 31-year-old former National League Cy Young Award winner to the New York Yankees.
The Yankees, who won 100 games in 2018, have been sluggish out of the gate in 2019, splitting their first 10 games and dealing with a lengthy list of injuries to key players. One of the most important of those key players who has yet to see action this season is 25-year-old, two-time All-Star pitcher Luis Severino, who has won 33 games for the Yankees over the last two seasons while losing only 14, according to Baseball Reference stats.
Severino started the season on the 10-day injured list with rotator cuff inflammation in his pitching shoulder. But according to SI.com, Severino this week experienced a setback to his rehab program when he came down with a separate injury, a Grade Two lat strain, that will put Severino on the shelf for at least six weeks — and likely more, because the Dominican native is not expected to start throwing again for at least that long.
In other words, Severino’s return now looks unlikely until sometime in July, according to NJ.com.
But Keuchel, according to reporter Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, has been keeping himself ready by throwing 95-pitch simulated games every five days as he waits for a contract offer.
That makes the former Astros lefty “the clear-cut top option remaining on the open market,” according to the MLB Trade Rumors site — though as the site noted, signing Keuchel would involve a financial hit for the Yankees, who would be forced to pay a 32 percent “luxury” tax on whatever they end up paying Keuchel. In addition, and perhaps just as importantly, the Yankees would have to surrender their second-highest pick in the upcoming MLB amateur draft.
But — perhaps unfortunately for Keuchel — the Yankees also have another option in veteran starter Gio Gonzalez, who was once an ace with the Washington Nationals, winning 21 games in 2012 with only eight losses and a 2.89 ERA, per Baseball Reference. Gonzalez is now pitching in the Yankees’ minor league system.
The Yankees, however, must make a decision on Gonzalez sometime in the next 11 days. The 11-year veteran who was drafted 38th overall by the Chicago White Sox in 2004 has an option to become a free agent again if the Yankees fail to promote him to the Major League squad by April 20, according to Sports Illustrated.