No need to be alarmed Houston Astros fans, the Beard is not leaving!
But it appears that the Houston Astros and the 2015 AL Cy Young award winner, Dallas Keuchel, will not be agreeing to a long-term contract extension anytime soon this offseason. Per a report from Reid Laymance of the Houston Chronicle, Keuchel, his agent, and the team have yet to delve into extension talks. According to Keuchel’s agent, Darek Braunecker, the team last season essentially “just kicked the tires, and get a sense where both parties were at that time.”
The latest news surrounding Keuchel and the possibility of no extension this offseason isn’t necessarily surprising nor concerning. After all, the bearded left-hander is just now entering his first time through the arbitration process. There are still two more arbitration years left before Keuchel can reach the free agent market after the 2018 season.
Both parties are just taking their time during the process, and there is nothing wrong with that. General manager Jeff Luhnow wants the best deal from the Houston Astros perspective while Keuchel and his agent want to maximize his earning power. The star left-hander will move from basically the league minimum to roughly $6 million in salary this year so the issue of a raise shouldn’t be harmful in talks.
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With that said, this is a situation to monitor closely. Retaining Keuchel, as he figures to meet or improve upon his success the past two seasons, will require a significant financial commitment from the Astros. His price figures to only go up if he continues to establish himself as one of baseball’s elite starting pitchers. Just look at the contracts that David Price and Zack Greinke received this offseason.
Not saying Keuchel will fetch that much money on the open market when his time comes, but it illustrates the growing price for star quality starters. And as of now, the current ownership has yet to show the trait of spending millions upon millions on just one player. Not saying that it won’t happen, but there isn’t a track record by which to look back upon yet. But maybe Keuchel will be the first one.
Keep in mind that the Astros and Keuchel could change their tune rather quickly if talks were to advance. Both sides seem willing to get a deal done sooner or later, and this would only solidify the Astros as one of the more desirable places to play considering the core talent already assembled. Keuchel will be needed for any future Astros success and let’s hope an extension is agreed to sooner or later.