Here it is, the long-awaited (at least for some of you) article on Dallas Keuchel. I’ve been teasing this piece for a few weeks now, and I think it’s time to finally put the words down. The thought/idea of this article is simple, why haven’t the Phillies signed Keuchel yet? I’ve made my bed on the Keuchel train and I plan to sleep there. Whether that is the place to be doesn’t matter, I’m there.
Is Keuchel the best available starting pitcher?
There is no debate about it, Keuchel is the best available starting pitcher on the market. He is a former Cy Young winner, a World Series champion, and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that he is left-handed. The addition of a left-handed starter would enhance the Phillies’ rotation.
Keuchel was just 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA in 34 starts during the 2018 season. However, he did break the 200 inning barrier and finished the season with 204.2 innings. Perhaps the most interesting or intriguing part of Keuchel is his ground ball rate (52.7% in 2018). However, this was down from 66.8% in 2017. If you put a ground ball pitcher inside of Citizens Bank Park, good results should follow.
Does it really matter that he is left-handed?
Yes, it really matters that Keuchel is left-handed. The last time a team won the World Series without a left-handed starting pitcher was the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Before you say anything, I AM NOT SAYING THAT THE PHILLIES WILL WIN THE WORLD SERIES IN 2019 IF THEY SIGN KEUCHEL. However, it is pretty eye-opening that every World Series winning team has had at least one left-hander in their rotation. Look at the 2008 Phillies, they had Cole Hamels.
The addition of a left-hander within the rotation creates chaos for opposing managers. Think back to the match-up between the Dodgers and Brewers. Craig Counsell started Wade Miley in order to make Dave Roberts set his line-up as if a lefty was pitching. After one batter, Miley was pulled. This gave the Brewers an advantage with the match-ups.
Just to be clear, I’m not a fan of the “Opener,” that has become a trend within baseball. However, I do understand the thought process of it. But, the Phillies need a left-hander in their rotation if they want a chance at a championship. This has become a fact from the past 14 years, and the 2008 Phillies were apart of it.
I’ve said in a previous article: “I would offer Keuchel a four or five year deal for $20 Million a year. Cole Hamels is set to make $20 Million in 2019 in his age 35-season. This has set the standard for the pitching market, especially for a guy who is about to be 30 and who has a Cy Young.” That means a five year deal for $100M.
Patrick Corbin signed a six-year deal for $140M. Is Corbin $40M better than Keuchel? I don’t think so. I believe that $100M for Keuchel and $20M a year is a contract that he would sign in a heartbeat.
It’s simple if you are the Phillies; sign Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, and whoever else needs a place to play, but that isn’t going to happen. Okay, relax, I’m joking. In all seriousness, sign Keuchel. You don’t need to wait and see about Harper or Machado to sign a starting pitcher. I would love to see the bearded lefty on the mound at Citizens Bank Park come April.