Blue Jays have some interest in free agent starter Dallas Keuchel
According to Jon Heyman of the Fan Cred Sports, the Blue Jays are among the teams interested in free agent left-hander Dallas Keuchel.
As we’ve talked about a lot here at Jays Journal, if the Blue Jays are going to spend some money this offseason it would probably be best used on the pitching staff. It looks like the front office would agree.
According to Jon Heyman of the Fan Cred Sports, it sounds like the Blue Jays are checking in on the starting pitching market, and they’re not just shopping in the bargain aisle. In fact, it sounds like there is some level in former Houston Astro Dallas Keuchel, who is one of the top free agent pitchers on the market this winter.
It will be interesting to see how serious the interest is from the Blue Jays, especially because it’s expected that Keuchel will be pretty highly sought after this winter. That said, the Blue Jays should have plenty of payroll space available and could make a competitive offer if they so choose.
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The fit makes sense for the Blue Jays for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, they could definitely use some help in their starting rotation. Right now their starting group would consist of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Ryan Borucki, and a couple of younger arms like Sean Reid-Foley or Thomas Pannone, so they could definitely use the help from a talent and a depth perspective.
Keuchel also makes sense because of the nature of his approach. These days it seems like it’s more common than not that pitchers can throw 95 MPH or higher. The downside of course is the stress that’s put on pitcher’s arms, which results in a record number of Tommy John surgeries. While no pitcher is exempt from potential arm injuries, Keuchel should be a safer option that way, as he relies on a soft-tossing repertoire that keeps hitters off balance, and rarely throws over 90 MPH.
He’s also the type of innings eater that could be very valuable in Toronto in the next couple of seasons, especially as they continue their rebuild and add younger arms to the staff. Last season Keuchel threw 204.2 innings for the Astros, posting an ERA of 3.74 and a WHIP 1.314, earning him 2.6 bWAR. It wasn’t quite the Cy Young numbers he put up in 2015, or even the All-Star calibre performance from 2017, but he was still very good.
It remains to be seen how serious the Blue Jays are about spending money this offseason, but if they’re going to then Keuchel makes as much sense as anyone. He’s estimated to receive a deal in the four year, 82 million dollar range, and if I’m the Blue Jays I would very seriously entertain that type of contract, assuming that it would be enough to get it done.