The veteran free agent should garner some attention from the Kansas City Royals who desperately need to find some help on the mound.
The Kansas City Royals are fully under new ownership at this point and hopefully, some questions will start to be answered. One question that will speak to how the future of the team may look is how aggressive the team will be in the free agency this year.
While it’s likely the new owner will want to get a feel for the organization and might not push the limits too much in his first offseason, a small change of pace and some good free agent acquisitions would likely sit well with most fans.
There is no way to know what is going to happen in the coming weeks for the Royals, or any team, but fans can continue to hope and dream about certain players wearing Royals blue. It’s nice to think of the Gerrit Cole‘s of the world coming to Kansas City, but unfortunately, it’s just not realistic (though I am happy to be proven wrong).
One free agent that may be a little closer to reality for Kansas City is Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel is a well-known name throughout baseball, partially for his great pitching, but also partially due to the fact that he went unsigned until June 2019, even though he was a big name in the 2019 free-agent class.
Keuchel comes with a fairly impressive resume. He is a four-time Gold Glove winner, and two-time all-star, finished fifth in MVP voting in 2015 and won the Cy Young Award in 2015 as well.
In 2019, Keuchel was finally picked up by the Braves on a $13 million contract. He started 19 games for them in the regular season, holding an ERA of 3.75 over 112.2 innings pitched with 91 strikeouts and a FIP of 4.72.
Keuchel did see a small uptick in his walks (3.1 per nine), but he also saw a rise in his strikeouts per nine innings (7.3). He was also a little more susceptible to home runs in 2019, but other than Brad Keller, a lot of pitchers were. Keuchel still managed to put together a decent year for a pitcher who didn’t see a game until the end of June.
Taking a look further back to see a whole season view, Keuchel put together a great 2018 season. He started 34 games and held an ERA of 3.74 over 204.2 innings pitched with 153 strikeouts, a FIP of 3.69, and batters walked per nine of 2.6 and strikeouts per nine of 6.7.
Had Keuchel been able to start at the beginning of the 2019 season, it’s likely he would have seen similar numbers to 2018, as he has remained fairly consistent through his time in the majors.
So, is a veteran pitcher like Keuchel even in the cards for the Royals? It could be a long shot, but there is more of a chance for him than some of the other big-name pitchers in this years free agency. The issue is that he is still probably going to come at a price higher than the Royals want to spend.
Keuchel is listed as “possibly” going for three years at $39 million on mlbtraderumors.com. While of course, that is a little higher than typical for Kansas City at $13 million a year, for a pitcher who has a lot of upsides, it might not be a bad investment.
With the $23 million option for Alex Gordon off the table for 2020, the organization has some room, and if they limit their free-agent acquisitions as most expect them to do, $13 million for a pitcher like Keuchel is not out of the question.
Keuchel would provide the Royals with a couple of positives. He brings a consistent arm to a rotation that lacked any kind of consistency. The Royals need another starter for their rotation, and Keuchel fits that bill.
Keuchel would also provide a strong veteran presence for current Royals pitchers like Brad Keller, and if kept on a multi-year deal, would go a long way to help when the young prospects start to make their way to Kauffman. On the flipside, Keuchel could bring in a large haul of prospects if the Royals decided to flip him at the deadline in 2020.
While it’s unlikely, the Royals could get Keuchel for a better price, depending on how much attention he garners in free agency. Having spent half of the season looking for a team, he might be willing to take a smaller offer if it includes multiple years, though, we are starting to sway back into the hopes and dreams area of thinking with this.
There, of course, are always downsides. Keuchel could see a decline in production as he is moving into his age 32 season. A good deal of the pitching free agents hit that 30-year mark for 2020, though, so it’s not out of the question to look at a pitcher who is a little older. Age, also, should never be the only determining factor.
There are upsides and downsides to any free agent a team gets. Baseball is full of unknowns, slumps, injuries, breakouts, and busts. One for sure thing, though, is that the Royals need pitching, and Dallas Keuchel still needs a team for 2020.
If adding a veteran presence is something the Royals will look to do over the offseason, Dallas Keuchel should be one of the top names on the list. He is a little older than some, but he has remained consistent in the past, and may come on a deal the Royals can work with. With someone like Keuchel on the mound, the Royals could look to finally break out of this rebuild, and get back on the track to contention.