Royals: Making the correct free agent gambles can make all the difference

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Royals, Dallas Keuchel
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Dallas Keuchel signed a one year deal last season after holding out until June. If he is again limited for suitors, the Royals should step up.

Dallas Keuchel is never going to get the $100 million long-term deal he was seeking going into free agency last season. I am not arguing that he is not worth it, only that with the way economics are currently in baseball, it is not going to happen.

Make no mistake, Keuchel is an excellent pitcher. He has not had an ERA over 4.55 since 2013. He does not give up home runs. And, even after not pitching until June last season he still pitched to an ERA+ of 121.

He does not come without some concerns. His WHIP has increased over the last two seasons. He gives up more hits than he once did. He also has never struck out a ton of guys, but that should mean he will fit right in with the Royals starting rotation.

Most importantly, Keuchel is an experienced workhorse. He has thrown 200 innings or more three different times. The Royals have not had a starting pitcher throw 200 innings since 2015.

Keuchel has never really relied on high-velocity fastballs to get guys out. So, he should have a longer prime than many pitchers. He was good enough last season, once he got going, to make it clear he still has the ability to change speeds and locations enough to keep hitters off-balance.

He would also be an excellent mentor for the young pitchers on the Royals staff. He has been an All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, and a World Series champion. It is worth noting that Keuchel’s 2019 discounted salary was pro-rated from $20 million because of how late in the season he started. But if we can sign a Dallas Keuchel to help usher in the new generation of Royals pitching for a couple of seasons for less than $20 million per year, we should take that deal.