The San Diego Padres need pitching help, and Dallas Keuchel could be a viable option for the team.
The 2019-20 MLB free-agent market was once considered pitching-deep, but that is not the case anymore as several players have found new homes before the holiday season.
Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole are gone. Each pitcher secured a payday well over $200 million with their new contracts. Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler were also paid heftily for their services this winter. These four men were considered the best options on the open market as far as starting pitching goes.
Despite a glaring need, the Padres have yet to make any significant addition to their pitching roster.
Zach Davies was swapped from the Brewers for Eric Lauer, and that is an upgrade. Drew Pomeranz signed with the Padres, and that will be an upgrade for the bullpen as well. But where is the ace that the fan base has been clamoring for? A.J. Preller and his staff may have a trick or two up their sleeve before the season starts, but it seems more likely the team will start the 2020 season with what they currently have.
An ace may not be attainable at this point, so the team will need to restructure their thoughts.
If the Padres wish to add a veteran pitcher to the squad to eat innings and possibly provide some mentorship to the young staff, Dallas Keuchel could be a perfect fit in San Diego. The free-agent is available and has drawn some interest of late as the market is starting to move in his direction. He will find work this season as a compensatory pick is not attached to his name like last winter. He is free to sign with no restraints and will probably do so in the coming weeks.
The lefty played for $13 million last year in Atlanta after signing late in the season as the June draft concluded. Keuchel is looking for a multiple-year deal and should get that as he was productive in 2019 for the Braves. The Scott Boras’ client showed a lot of heart pitching in Atlanta last year.
Keuchel finished the 2019 year with an 8-8 record, 3.75 ERA, and a 1.367 WHIP in 112.2 innings pitched. Not overly impressive, but the pitcher performed well in a season full of challenges. He helped solidify a young Braves’ team as they rolled into the playoffs. He justified his paycheck and should have no problem doing that in 2020 and beyond.
The 2015 AL Cy Young-Award winner will be 32 next season and is not considered a young pitcher by any stretch of the imagination. He has pitched in the Major Leagues for eight years, putting up an 84-71 record with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.260 WHIP. Dallas Keuchel is not the same pitcher he once was, but he is a reliable option for a team looking for veteran leadership. The Padres could get plenty of mileage out of the southpaw as they build towards relevancy. There have only been whispers surrounding Keuchel so far this spring, but in the coming weeks, the chatter is sure to grow into a significant talk. As this happens- the Padres are sure to be right in the middle of it all.