Barring a drastic collapse to his market, the Astros are not likely to retain a well-known bearded southpaw.
If you have high hopes of the Astros resigning free agent starter Dallas Keuchel, well, you may want to reinvest those feelings elsewhere. According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (video link), the chances of Keuchel resigning with Houston remain “slim,” although both sides could work something out if the left-hander’s market evaporates.
The latest update from McTaggart only reinforces the Astros’ position this offseason: Acquiring another starting pitcher outside the organization. While Keuchel certainly has the track record and ties with the organization, he is still searching for the best offer on the market. Houston’s front office wants to find another cost-effective starter with upside. Both sides are within their rights to operate in this manner. At this point though, it remains doubtful if the Astros offer the most money for Keuchel’s services.
If I were to pick a potential landing spot for Keuchel, I believe that the Braves or Reds are two intriguing options. The Braves, for example, are in need of a proven veteran starter as they look like a potential contender in the National League next year. The Reds are attempting to become more competitive in the NL Central, so they might be willing to offer the most cash to sign Keuchel. I’m sure there are other potential suitors for the 2015 AL Cy Young, but those two teams stand out to me.
For the Astros, I’d expect to see more rumors involving Robbie Ray and Seth Lugo until proven otherwise. Like I mentioned earlier, Houston’s front office wants to find a cost effective pitcher with upside. Both pitchers are also under club control beyond 2019.
For a team facing the eventual free agency of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole next offseason, it makes sense why general manager Jeff Luhnow would want to acquire a pitcher with multiple years of club control. Unfortunately for the fans, it looks like Keuchel isn’t coming back to Houston unless something drastic changes in January for both sides.