Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that former Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel’s long, drawn-out free agency saga had just ended after he agreed to sign a three-year, $43 million contract with the Chicago Cubs, per MLB.com. That leaves former American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel as the other highly-regarded free agent pitcher who remains available at this point in the 2019 MLB season, though recent rumors suggest that the 31-year-old left-hander may be closer than ever to finding a new home.
On Wednesday morning, The Athletic’s David O’Brien took to Twitter to provide the latest update on Keuchel, which suggests that the interest from certain MLB clubs, including the Atlanta Braves, has been “overstated.” While O’Brien clarified that the Braves did inquire about Keuchel and had shown interest in the pitcher, he also stressed that Atlanta was not “deep in negotiations” like the New York Yankees apparently are at the moment.
One day prior to O’Brien’s update on Twitter, MLB.com reporter Mark Feinsand spoke to Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts of New York City radio station WFAN and noted that there could be about three to five teams that are interested in signing Keuchel. He added, however, that the Yankees are still the pitcher’s most likely destination, given how intent he appears to be on signing with the team.
“What I’m hearing from people is the Yankees is where he wants to go,” Feinsand said, as quoted by NJ.com.
“I just find it hard to believe that if he wants to come here and they’re interested that it won’t get done one way or another… The [St. Louis] Cardinals, the [Minnesota] Twins, the Braves, you heard Tampa Bay mentioned a little bit.”
Regarding the type of contract Dallas Keuchel might sign with the Yankees, Feinsand speculated that the former Houston Astros star could sign a prorated one-year contract valued at $18 million, which would likely be worth about $12 million for four months with the team. Per NJ.com, there’s a chance Keuchel might have been hoping for a multi-year deal, but the likelihood of him actually getting such an offer is “slim-to-none” at the moment.
Prior to entering free agency after the 2018 MLB season, Keuchel played his entire seven-year career in the majors with the Astros. Per his Baseball-Reference page, he has career statistics of 76 wins, 63 losses, a 3.66 ERA, and 945 strikeouts in 1189 1/3 innings pitched. Last season, Keuchel finished with a 12-11 record, had a 3.74 ERA, and struck out 153 batters in 204 2/3 innings for an Astros team that made it to the AL Championship Series, where they lost to the Boston Red Sox.