Former Astros Cy Young winner to attempt another comeback with division rival

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics / Jason O. Watson/GettyImages

The decline of Dallas Keuchel might be one of MLB's sadder stories in recent memory. After being a surprise star for the Astros as a seventh-round pick, he had two back-to-back 200+ inning seasons in 2014 and 2015. The first of which won him his first Gold Glove and the second got him another Gold Glove, his first All-Star appearance, and the AL Cy Young award.

Over the next two years, he was frequently bogged down by injuries (there's a reason 200+ innings are pretty rare in the modern era) but still managed to grab accolades and get back to pitching another 200+ inning season in 2018.

Things didn't really take a turn for the worse until 2021, when Keuchel was in his second year with the White Sox. He struggled with more injuries and put up a then-career-worst ERA that year. In 2022, he only pitched 60 innings and logged a 9.20 ERA before being DFA'ed and released by Chicago, who had to eat $18.5 million of his contract.

He's bounced around to three different clubs since then — the Diamondbacks, Rangers, and Twins — starting with all of them on minor-league deals. Although he's resurfaced in the majors a few times, nothing has stuck.

Now, Keuchel is coming back to the AL West with a new team. He signed a minor-league contract with the Mariners on Tuesday.

Former Astros ace and AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel signed a minor league contract with the Mariners

Keuchel's minor league stats haven't looked good either since he started to jump around, and he was even demoted all the way down to Rookie ball for a time when he was with the Diamondbacks. He's pitched just under 100 major league innings for four different clubs since 2022, good for a whopping 9.62 ERA.

You sort of have the respect the grind from Keuchel who, despite being 36, clearly still wants to get back to the show and believes in himself as a rebound candidate. Clearly, there are still clubs who are willing to believe in him as well, but it's also hard to imagine how long he'll stay at it.

If Keuchel can find a sweet spot with the Mariners and find a way to at least eat innings on a somewhat productive basis, it'll be a win all around. But for now, the Astros have fond memories of his Cy Young year to keep in our collective psyche while pretty much ignoring what came after.