Let’s hope the Houston Astros show Keuchel the money
Coming off his first Cy Young award winning season has to be one of the best, if not THE best, moment of Dallas Keuchel‘s professional career. But what would be a perfect encore to an otherwise great season, which also included an All-Star Game start and a Gold Glove, you may ask? How about a lucrative contract extension!
Rumor has it that the Houston Astros could be interested in discussing a contract extension with the bearded southpaw, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
If a long-term extension takes place, not only would this basically buy out Keuchel’s first three years of salary arbitration, it would also ensure that he would be an Astro for the foreseeable future. That is a win-win for both sides. Essentially locking up a pitcher that went 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA/2.91 FIP would hopefully set up the club for long-term success. The only question is what would be his exact contract term and amount. And that is where this entire situation becomes even more interesting.
Given Keuchel’s age (27) and the fact that he still has three years of salary arbitration in front of him puts the Astros ace in an unusual spot regarding contract negotiations. If he elects to go the arbitration route, then that basically ensures that he won’t receive his first long-term contract until he is in his early thirties. Evan Drellich does point out in his article that Keuchel is expected to make at least $6 million in 2016. So it isn’t like turning down an extension won’t prevent the Astros ace from receiving an enormous raise from his 2015 base salary of $524,500.
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But normally there aren’t many teams willing to give out top dollar to a pitcher that is considered to be on the wrong side of thirty. It is even difficult for some organizations to give out a huge contract to a player in their twenties. And given the rarity of Keuchel’s situation, there is a limited amount of past examples that could indicate what the market value would be for the former Arkansas Razorback. After all, it is difficult to find a comparable situation to a 27-year old starting pitcher who is just now entering the arbitration while enjoying a terrific two-year stretch as one the American League’s best pitchers.
Regardless, as long as any proposed contract is fair than it would be in the best interest of both parties to agree to the terms. Keuchel would be handsomely rewarded for all of his accolades of the past two years, and the hope would be that he continues down this path of excellence.
Recent history would seem to suggest that is likely considering his lack of injury red flags and he did step up his game from his excellent 2014 campaign. The Astros would reinforce the notion that the organization is serious about keeping its homegrown talent and is in it to win it in the American League.
**Statistics provided by Fangraphs.com**
**Contract information provided by Spotrac.com**