We’ve never been here before with a former Cy Young winner being available in June when he’s only 31-years old, but winter was no ordinary free agency. Just one day after Craig Kimbrel found a home, Dallas Keuchel has found a home and that is with the Atlanta Braves, according to Dave O’Brien of The Athletic.
It’s not surprising that after these two were no longer tied to draft pick compensation they were picked up quickly. I already ranted about the fact that these two were even still available at this point, so I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to talk about how Keuchel fits into the Braves.
Unlike Kimbrel, this is only expected to be a one-year deal. That’s still plenty good if you’re the Braves because Keuchel is still really good and is coming off of winning 26 games the past two seasons with a 3.39 ERA. He isn’t a big-time strikeout pitcher, but what he does have is impeccable control that has led to him only walking 2.6 walks per nine innings during his career and only 2.4 per nine innings since he really took off as a starting pitcher.
We will have to wait and see how long it will take Keuchel to get ready to go for the season, but with him being a control guy and not relying on velocity it might help him out when it comes to getting ready for the season more than it would for guys who rely on their velocity.
There’s really no reason to think Keuchel won’t be a great addition. His velocity last season was right where it was the two seasons before so that shouldn’t be too much of a concern.
If he still has his pinpoint control he’ll be great to add into the rotation because as a rotation the Braves have been pretty solid overall, but between Kevin Gausman (6.15 ERA) and Mike Foltynewicz (6.10 ERA) they really needed to add another starting pitcher if they want to go on and win the division this season.
For Keuchel this deal is a little risky, especially if it does end up only being for one year. If he is successful it could lead to more players possibly sitting out into the season to try and get new contracts, but if he isn’t successful doing this it could lead to smaller contracts, which is what the teams want based on their actions over the past two free agencies.
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