Astros rumors: Club still interested in Dallas Keuchel
If the Astros can’t find another veteran starter through free agency or via trade, why should they not consider a reunion with a familiar face?
If the 2019 season started today, the Astros‘ starting rotation may look something like this: Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh, Josh James, and Framber Valdez. The last two spots in the rotation are fluid situations at this point, but the first three spots are locked up.
Like any club with championship aspirations though, the Astros probably wouldn’t mind another veteran starter to help bridge the gap. If the stars were to align, I wouldn’t ignore a reunion with Dallas Keuchel, who is currently a free-agent. Per Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports, it appears that the Astros are open to the idea, too.
Thanks to a notoriously slow free-agent market, Keuchel, who is arguably the top starter on the open market, is still available. It is unlikely that the 2015 AL Cy Young winner and his agent, Scott Boras, have received a satisfactory offer from potential suitors. Don’t forget Keuchel was still looking for a five-year commitment as of late December. Brian McTaggart of MLB.com did note in late December that the Astros could circle back with their former ace if the club didn’t acquire another veteran starter by “late January”. Oh, look, it is already late January and no other veteran starter on the staff.
The chances that the Astros and Keuchel reach an agreement likely remain slim. But the odds of a reunion taking place can’t be any worse today than it was four weeks ago. The fit is there as the Astros need another proven starter, preferably a left-hander. Keuchel would obviously check both boxes.
At this point, I wouldn’t rule out a creative solution between the two sides, especially if Keuchel’s market fails to fully develop as Spring Training draws closer. The Astros, like most suitors, are likely not keen in giving the bearded southpaw, regardless of past success, a five-year commitment. But Houston has the payroll flexibility to add Keuchel back to the fold to further strengthen the rotation for another championship run in 2019. Either way, Keuchel deserves to get paid and the Astros have a need in the rotation, so a reunion shouldn’t be completely ruled out.