Houston Astros: Dallas Keuchel should renegotiate with the team

The Houston Astros are less than a month from Spring Training, yet Dallas Keuchel hasn’t been signed. What? Here’s why both parties need to renegotiate.

The Houston Astros will start Spring Training and pitchers/catchers will have to report by the middle of next month.  I’m stating the obvious but there’s an interesting wrinkle to all of this — Dallas Keuchel is still a free agent.

We all thought that Keuchel would’ve latched onto some different team by now with a mega-deal to his liking.  But the fact of the matter is that teams are reluctant to offer him a long-term pact, considering his injury history.

His performance has definitely demonstrated that he warrants a pay raise but whether it will be over years of guaranteed money remains to be seen.

Few lefties like Keuchel have surpassed the 200-inning mark, a notch that he’s put on his belt many seasons in his career.  That alone indicates value and he was still able to hit that mark last season despite some battles with a few maladies.

The rumors have been all over the map of where his next destination will be — with just about any team with a little money in bank wanting a piece of his services.  The Cincinnati Reds have been the most notable, a franchise that now seems to be in spending mode.  It’s just a tough sell for a free agent to come to the Reds as their media market usually ranks in the mid-30s.  Houston is a Top 10 media market and free agents have this in mind when they sign with teams.

All players want the exposure they deserve to expand their brand because they all want to have some longevity after their careers are over and media certainly helps with that.

But here’s the deal — the Houston Astros and Keuchel need to get back to the negotiating table and try to get something done in good faith.  I know this franchise will be reluctant to sign him to long-term deal but if he get paid a healthy raise for a just a few seasons, which is what I’m sure other teams are offering him, he’s best suited to stay here.

I wrote a couple of months ago in regard to three reasons why Keuchel should be brought so you take a look at it here.

He’s already declined his qualifying offer which would’ve been a guaranteed $17.9 million for 2019

so a new deal will have to be structured.

Outside of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, there are a lot of question marks on who will fill out the rest of the rotation and Keuchel will certain address one of those question marks.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Keuchel was offered a five-year, $90 million extension just before the start of the 2016 season but he turned it down.  That offer — which the Houston Astros are even close to extending as the dynamics of winning a World Series have changed — is almost certainly rescinded.  But maybe not — we’ll have to see where Jeff Luhnow is at on Keuchel.

I just think that both teams can come together and agree on something that’s equitable on both sides.  They need to meet somewhere in the middle of that proposal back in 2016.

The market may be waiting for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper to make their decisions but think the Houston Astros can get a Keuchel deal done quickly.  Besides, I’d love to have him back and I think he should retire as a member of the Houston Astros.

But you shouldn’t blame the guy for wanting to test out the market.  But it’s time for Keuchel to come back home where he’s loved, can park wherever he wants and never have a buy drink anywhere he goes.  We’ll never forget the Houston Astros heroics in the World Series, especially what this city was going through after the horrific after-effects of Hurricane Harvey.

Come home Keuchel, let’s do this…

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Keuchel, 30, posted a 12-11 record, a 3.74 ERA with 153 strikeouts, a 1.31 WHIP, 3.69 FIP through 204.2 innings pitched in 2018.