With former American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel still available on the free agent market at the moment, the San Diego Padres have been one of the teams most consistently linked to the left-handed starter. And while the Padres are currently leading the National League West Division with an 11-6 record, recent rumors suggest that Keuchel could be close to bolstering the team’s starting rotation and signing a short-term contract with San Diego.
On Sunday, ESPN’s Buster Olney offered the latest update on Keuchel’s status as an unsigned free agent, tweeting that the 31-year-old Keuchel is now open to signing a “good” one-year contract. Specifically, Olney added that the Padres could be “the best fit” for the lefty, noting that the team has gotten off to a good start to the 2019 MLB season and that he could potentially produce good pitching numbers in the “big” ballparks of the NL West Division.
As pointed out by Bleacher Report, the San Diego Padres have gotten good contributions from the likes of highly-touted new addition Manny Machado, who currently has four home runs and eight RBIs, as well as young shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., first baseman Eric Hosmer, and left fielder Wil Myers. The team’s pitching staff, which, per CBS Sports, is the second-youngest in the entire MLB, has also performed well despite their relative youth and lack of experience, holding opposing batters down to an average of 0.226 and compiling an ERA of 3.30.
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Despite the Padres’ surprisingly strong start, Bleacher Report opined that it wouldn’t hurt either if San Diego got some extra help in the form of Dallas Keuchel, given how the Los Angeles Dodgers are still a team to be reckoned with in the NL West. As the outlet’s Timothy Rapp opined, Keuchel is a player who could “upgrade most rotations” beyond that of the Padres.
With the above in mind, Rapp added that there are several other teams that could benefit from having Keuchel on board. He posited that the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, and Atlanta Braves also stand out in the NL as “logical suitors” for the former Cy Young Award winner.
Keuchel, who has played his entire MLB career with the Houston Astros so far, played well in 2018, finishing the season with a 12-11 record, 3.74 ERA, and 153 strikeouts in 204 2/3 innings. Per Bleacher Report, he has also produced solid numbers in postseason play, with career stats of 10 appearances, nine starts, and a 4-2 win-loss record in the playoffs.