The Case for Keuchel
Look, I know I’m the guy that said signing him would be Carlos Boozer all over again.
But in case you haven’t noticed, the White Sox pitching staff is in shambles. One thing I want to be clear about is that I am not suggesting Dallas Keuchel is the answer to fix it all. He’s just the first step in putting together a real MLB pitching staff.
State of the staff
I have said a number of times on our podcast, in the tub on the Sunday Soak, and when you’ve run into me in person: Major League teams that want to contend, need to have 6-7 viable starting pitchers. Some of them are hidden as longmen or in the minors until they’re needed. Look at the Dodgers, Cubs, Astros to see this. The White Sox are very, very far from that. Even if you consider Cease to be a definite starter soon, you have 2 guys in Lopez and Cease. Kopech and Rodon are in varying states of elbow injury. Giolito, Banuelos, Covey are long shots at being in a competitive rotation.
To me there is no question, the Sox need to add pitchers. If you don’t believe that, you’re simply not being realistic.
Can the Sox sign him?
Believe it or not, the Sox are actually in a good position for signing Keuchel. We don’t know much about his free agency, but we do know he does not want to take a pillow deal. This is one of the things keeping teams with injury based needs away. And he wants a good amount of cash, which is keeping the Brewers away. So why not drop 5 years and $90 million on a guy when you have one of the lowest payrolls in the league? Most answers don’t make much sense:
Teams are supposedly holding off on signing him until after the Amateur Draft because they don’t want to lose their 2nd pick. For the Sox, this would be the 45th pick of the draft. If you look at the guys who have gone at that spot the past few years or the guys the Sox have drafted 2nd, you would be hard pressed to find a guy you wouldn’t trade for Dallas Keuchel.
Drop in velocity
I’ve heard this from a few people and it’s simply not true. His velocity has been about the same for the past 3 years. And it is only slightly down from the three years prior. I understand the guy isn’t a flamethrower. But Sox fans, more than anybody, should appreciate a lefty that throws in the high 80s, low 90s. And also the regret of not spending money on that lefty because we had so much talent pushing him out…
Wait til 2020 to sign free agents
This is just insane. Signing Keuchel does not preclude you from this. It is also a big assumption that the arms you want will ever make it to free agency. I could definitely see the Giants locking up Bumgarner if he returns to form. And I would bet the Astros are doing their best to lock up Gerrit Cole.
Trade for Marcus Stroman
This is a good idea, but you should do this AND sign Keuchel. As I said, you need a lot of pitchers. This team is without any depth at the position, so yes, please trade for Stroman after you sign Keuchel.