Posted on June 3, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine

Houston Astros Dallas Keuchel
Image via usatoday.com

The MLB Draft begins Monday night, and that means free agents who declined qualifying offers are no longer tied to draft-pick compensation. That means the action is likely to pick up on free agents Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel, as the team that signs them will no longer have to sacrifice a draft pick to sign them. At the moment, Keuchel doesn’t appear to be in a rush to sign. However, the market for him should become a little more developed. Here’s a rundown of the team’s most likely to add the lefty for the second half of the season.

Braves – 15%

The Braves are under a little bit of pressure to make a postseason run after winning the NL East last year. At the moment, they might need a boost to overtake the Phillies. They’ve also been a little uneven pitching-wise this season. With a young rotation, a veteran like Keuchel could be huge both this year and in the next couple of years.

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Brewers – 10%

The Brewers have been far too reliant on their bullpen this season and could use someone like Keuchel who can go deep in games. Even with Jimmy Nelson set to return, Milwaukee’s rotation has a vacancy or two that Keuchel would fill nicely. He’d also be a proven playoff performer who could help them take that next step in October.

Cardinals – 10%

Things are starting to spiral for the Red Birds, and adding Keuchel could give them a big lift, both on the field and mentally. Outside of Michael Wacha, the St. Louis rotation has been fine. But fine may not be enough to get them to the top of the NL Central this year. The Cardinals may be at the top of the list of teams that need to add Keuchel.

Padres – 10%

After the way they’ve spent the last couple of years, you can’t count out the Padres opening their checkbook again to sign Keuchel. A few of San Diego’s young starters have performed well this season and Keuchel would be the perfect mentor both this season and for the future. With him, the Padres could take another big step forward in their development and would solidify themselves as a legitimate playoff contender in 2019.

Phillies – 15%

The Phillies have already spent a lot of money this year, but it’s not impossible to see them spending more on a starter. The back end of the rotation has been a little lackluster this season, but the addition of Keuchel could help Philly get separation from the rest of the NL East. Plus, Keuchel, Jake Arrieta, and Aaron Nola would be a nice postseason rotation, not to mention Zach Eflin, who’s been the team’s best starter this year.

Rays – 10%

Money is tight in Tampa, but if Keuchel is willing to take a short-term deal, the Rays could make it work. With Tyler Glasnow on the shelf, the Rays need more innings from their starters. Plus, if they can get Glasnow back and sandwich him between Keuchel and Blake Snell, Tampa’s rotation would be scary in October without the need to use an “opener.”

Twins – 10%

The Twins are already keeping pace with the best teams in the American League. If they can somehow add Keuchel to the mix, they’d have arguably the deepest and most balanced starting rotation in baseball. Much like Tampa Bay, money could be an issue for the small-market Twins unless Keuchel wants a one-year deal.

Yankees – 15%

There’s a lot riding on the health and performance of Luis Severino once he returns later this season. Adding Keuchel would be an insurance plan, even if it would make the New York rotation a little heavy on lefties. With the Yankees, money usually isn’t an issue, so they could give him the best deal if they wanted to. However, Keuchel would have to shave his beard, which he may not be willing to do.

The Field – 5%

The market isn’t yet developed enough to rule out a team from the field making a run at Keuchel, especially if there’s a key injury. A return to Houston is unlikely but not impossible. Teams like the Mets, Rangers, or Rockies could also get into the mix if they believe Keuchel can help turn them into contenders.

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