The Yankees appear to be the favorites to sign former Astros lefthander Dallas Keuchel.
With the MLB draft underway, free agent lefthander Dallas Keuchel is now free to sign with any team with no draft pick compensation attached. Rumors are circulating that the Yankees are the current frontrunners for his services. If true, it could mean the Astros end up facing a beardless Keuchel in the postseason.
What’s notable is that the Astros are not named as being in the running despite the fact that they could probably use him. This may irk a number of fans who’d like to see Keuchel’s Korner return to Minute Maid Park.
Who’s in the Mix
The Yankees and Braves are the frontrunners, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. He also has a second source who believes the Yankees will end up signing him, despite the fact that Keuchel would have to shave his beard to comply with the team’s policy against facial hair.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Keuchel is receiving offers for $18 million on a one-year deal, prorated based on the time he spends on the active roster. He could end up signing for that amount or slightly more, but may be holding out for a multi-year deal.
For the Yankees, signing Keuchel makes a lot of sense, even if they don’t have a dire need in the rotation at this point. Given that Yankee Stadium is so friendly to left-handed power hitters, what better way to neutralize those opponents than by adding a left-handed ground ball specialist?
Why Not the Astros?
The Astros’ rotation situation isn’t dire either, but there’s certainly room to bring Keuchel back. Justin Verlander has been stellar this season, and Wade Miley has been excellent. But Gerrit Cole has been haunted by the long ball, and Collin McHugh struggled before going on the IL.
With Forrest Whitley on the shelf for the foreseeable future and Corbin Martin seemingly needing more time in the minors to hone his command, there may not be an impact addition coming up from the minors this season. Keuchel would be that addition and also provide insurance should another starter end up injured.
But the Astros seemingly never made much of an attempt to re-sign Keuchel from the start, so evidently they have moved on. It’s not the end of the world if he signs elsewhere, but I sure wouldn’t mind having him in the rotation for one more October.