Astros: Dallas Keuchel may be the best free agent option left

Pitchers are going fast and if the Astros are still in the market for a starter they may not want to wait. A Dallas Keuchel reunion may be their best bet.

The Astros have filled their need at the catcher position and they brought back Joe Smith to help out in the bullpen. Now it’s time for that last piece Jeff Luhnow is wanting to satisfy and that’s another starting pitcher to strengthen the rotation. Since they’ve re-signed a couple of familiar faces, why not one more, Dallas Keuchel?

In ESPN’s list of top 20 free-agent starting pitchers, only four are remaining. The top pitcher left is Hyun-Jin Ryu but his price tag may be too steep for the Astros, and his medical history isn’t too reassuring. The next three on the list are Ivan Nova, Homer Bailey, and Dallas Keuchel.

Bailey has a 4.57 ERA over his 13-year career and had the same ERA this past season. Over the past five seasons, Bailey’s ERA was 5.56. In fact, this season is the first time he has had an ERA below 5.0 since 2014. So it appears the 33-year-old isn’t exactly improving with age.

Ivan Nova’s numbers don’t look much better than Bailey’s. In 2019 he ended up with a 4.72 ERA, slightly above his career 4.32. His ERA+ last season was 97, close to the 99 that Bailey posted. The 33-year-old led the League in most hits allowed surrendering 225 in his 187 innings of work.

In contrast to those two pitchers, Dallas Keuchel ended the season with a 3.75 ERA and has a career ERA of 3.67. His ERA has only crept above the 4.0 mark once in the last six years. He had a 121 ERA+ in 2019 and it stands at 110 over his eight-year career. Keuchel has won a CY Young Award, four Gold Glove Awards and has made two trips to the All-Star Game. Bailey and Nova have no awards or All-Star appearances to their names.

Dallas Keuchel might just be the right pitcher to plug into that #3 or #4 spot of the Astros starting rotation. He would be that left-handed pitcher to insert in the middle that will fill the void left by the departure of Wade Miley.

Next: Astros and catcher Martin Maldonado agree to two-year deal

Keuchel has been a consistently reliable and durable pitcher over his career. Plus, he is familiar with the Astros system and pitching coach Brent Strom. Maybe it’s time to bring back the beard to join Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr., and have three of the five starters on the mound that brought the World Series Trophy home to Houston.



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