Thank you, Dallas Keuchel!


Former Astros ace,Dallas Keuchel, after sitting out more than two months of the 2019 season and after not being offered a multi-year $100+ million contract, has signed a contract worth $13 million with the Atlanta Braves to pitch less than four months of the current season.

This is worth approximately the equivalent of about a $20 million contract for a full year of pitching and Keuchel will return to the free agent hopper at the end of 2019. A team signing him then would not forfeit a future draft pick though they will be signing a pitcher who has taken one more step into his 30’s, beginning the 2020 season at the age of 32.

The easiest thing at this time would be to chide Keuchel for over-estimating his own worth in a sinking market for “older” players. He reportedly turned down a 5 year/ $90 million extension a couple years ago from the Astros. He did (unsurprisingly) turn down a $17.9 million qualifying offer in the offseason from the Astros that attached a poison pill draft pick forfeiture to his signing. He reportedly did turn down a number of offers since he became a free agent, though there has been no report on the length or annual worth of those offers or even which teams proffered those contracts.

But the point of this post is not to question his ego, question the influence of his agent Scott (Beelzebub) Boras or even question his loyalty to the Astros. It is simply to thank one of the most critical pieces in the Astros run from laughingstock to World Champion and perennial contender.

The Astros picked Dallas Keuchel 10 drafts ago, a seventh round pick out of the University of Arkansas. He rose fairly quickly through the minors despite the fact that he faltered every time he was first promoted to a level and then did better upon repeat. It is probably more a testimony to how bad the Astros were and how bad the minors were that he was promoted to the majors after putting up a so-so 6-4 mark at AAA with a 3.90 ERA and with only striking out 4.9 hitters per 9 IP in 2012.  It is no exaggeration to say that Keuchel is not the kind of pitcher the current front office would ever draft or push up the ladder these days.

Once up in the majors, Keuchel was bad for two seasons (3-8, 5.27 ERA in 2012 and 6-10, 5.15 ERA in 2013) pitching for the worst team in the majors. It was likely he came to spring training in 2014 on his last MLB legs. At this point he made a major leap and was one of the key cogs in pulling this team into respectability and eventually excellence. In 2014 he was a very good 12-9 with a 2.93 ERA, which is no small feat with a team that was only 72-90 and had no real veteran presence to lead the way for him. In 2015, he carried the team to its first playoff spot in a decade with his lightning strike of a Cy Young season – 20-8 and 2.43 ERA. He then pitched brilliantly on the road (6 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs) against the Yankees to win the wild card play-in game and move them into the playoffs against the Royals. Most will remember his ill fated relief attempt in Game 5, but forget that he beat the Royals in game 3 with a 7 IP, 1 run effort to get them to the cusp of a series win.

When Dallas faltered in 2016 (9-12, 4.55 ERA) , trying to pitch through an injury, the team faltered also. Both he and the Astros turned it around in 2017 as he put up a 14-5 record and 2.90 ERA around another injury. But the two most important things he did this season may have been off the field. First, he was not shy in echoing what we all felt when the front office failed to improve the team at the “normal” trade deadline at the end of July. Whether this spurred on Jeff Luhnow to heavily pursue Justin Verlander leading into the waiver trade deadline, we will never know. But we do know that when the Astros struggled to get agreement from Verlander on that trade as time was ticking down, the one player they had call him was Dallas Keuchel. Despite his criticism of the front office, they trusted him to be their banner carrier in convincing the difference maker to leave the comfort of his forever baseball home in Detroit and jump to Houston.

Now there are players, who may not want to win as much as Keuchel does, who would have said no thank you on calling Verlander. After all, Dallas was the Astros ace and he knew that bringing JV here would be ceding that title to the new guy. But he knew that he was playing for a terrific team with a great offense and injury prone pitching that needed that one move to send them where no Astro team had ever reached before. He made the call, the trade was made with seconds to spare and  the Astros rode that move to the World Championship in 2017.

Keuchel was good , not great in 2018 (12-11, 3.75 ERA) and entered the off-season thinking he would be one of those Mega-Lottery winners in free agency. It has not happened and may never happen for him. Keuchel should have no complaints as he has pulled in $30 million in his career with $13 million more coming. The Astros should have no complaints as they picked up 76 regular season wins and a confident team leader for their investment.

And the Astro fans should just say thanks to Dallas Keuchel and best of luck (unless your new team meets our always team in the World Series). The next chapter will be unfolding soon.

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56 comments on “Thank you, Dallas Keuchel!

    • If he’s our man 1OP, I sure his stats have been horrible due to some new concept he’s been working on, that he’ll put on the shelf for now. His 2019 looks worse than Reymin’s.

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  1. You folks are so obedient……on the thanks, best of luck deal.

    Well, Cionel could not possibly be worse than Guduan. (and if he is I may need to turn off the TV).

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  2. I saw Dallas pitch for Arkansas in the college playoffs about the time we drafted him in the 7th round and felt we got a steal. I wish the best for him with the Braves. I had mixed feelings about wanting him back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Keuchel, best of luck.

    He was a fan favorite on this blog back when the Astros stunk and we had hopes someone would give the team some life. His 2015 season was among the best I can recall from any Astros pitcher.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Let’s talk a little about bullpen availability today:
    – James – 35 pitches and Devo – 46 pitches have to be off today
    – Harris – threw only 9 pitches and did not pitch Wed – should be available
    – Pressly – threw 25 pitches yesterday, but …. did not pitch on Tues or Wed – might be available for an inning or a couple batters. He threw 24 pitches against Boston and came back the next day for an inning a couple weeks ago
    – Rondon – threw 24 pitches, but… did not pitch on Mon, Tues or Wed – might also be available
    – Osuna – threw 25 pitches, but …. did not pitch on Mon., Tues or Wed – might also be available

    Obviously, it would be better if they could rest them, especially Pressly and Osuna who ended one inning and re-warmed up and pitched in a second inning yesterday, but I’m just saying its possible.
    I guess the key is whether they are subbing Perez for say Guduan. I would certainly trust Perez for a few innings whereas I do not trust Guduan for a few pitches.
    And of course there is always ….Brady Rodgers. Yow.

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  5. The Astros left on a seven game West Coast road trip missing three All-Stars from their lineup. Their pitchers give up 35 runs in the seven games and they come home with a 6-1 record on the trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I guess I have mixed feelings as I indicated in my prior post. Maybe I should adopt the Michael Corleone quote as “It’s just business”, but somehow I just think there’s more to this than meets the eye. I agree with all the accolades that you have bestowed upon DK but then again I can’t be totally happy about this whole deal with him leaving. There must be more to this. The fans truly liked the guy and he was offered a pretty good extension (18MM a year for 5 years). Considering I thought that was a good deal for him, especially for a pitcher of his type entering their 30’s. I guess with those who don’t even make a million over a lifetime, it’s hard to grasp the reality of some guy turning down 18MM a year to play a game because you want another 7 MM per year.
    I would think most of us would wish we had that kind of opportunity but that’s a topic for another day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OK I’ll bite.
    Dallas Keuchel was a great pitcher in 2015.
    I didn’t care for Keuchel publicly putting his GM behind the 8 ball when he pressured the organization, on TV, after a big win to resign Jason Castro. I didn’t like Castro.
    I didn’t care for it when Keuchel publicly lobbied for the Astros to sign Drew Smiley as a free agent because they were buds at Arkansas. Thank goodness they ignored him because Smiley has been a disaster since then.
    I have had a beard for over 35 years, but I can’t stand Keuchel’s beard.
    I’ve always thought Keuchel considered himself more valuable to the Astros than he was.
    In this day and age when umpires have so much power and so little talent, I can’t stomach the thought of putting Keuchel’s fate, as a finesse pitcher only, in the hands of this corps of umpires. I don’t like extreme shifts when Keuchel is pitching because he gives the batter so much time from his hand to the plate to beat that shift.
    I love how he fielded his position. He was one of the best.
    So, there you have it. I left some stuff out that I didn’t deem appropriate to the conversation.

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    • Let me ask you one question op – would the Astros have been World Champs in 2017 without Keuchel? I’m not being snide – just wondering what you think.
      I personally don’t think they would have made it back then without him. On the other hand – today I would rather not have him and I think the team can win it all without him.

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  8. Just 2 comments (opinion):

    Yuli’s bad D cost 2 runs and at least 1 inning of work for an overtaxed bullpen.

    I would rather see Straw in the leadoff spot. Less pop but better contact. Better fielder. Better arm. Better wheels. If Straw walks he probably steals and taked the DP out of play.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, it’s a funny game. Perez, consistently getting beat up in AAA, comes up and owns the final three innings and gets a win. He kept throwing strikes!

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      • DB7, if I want one quality from a reliever is “throw strikes.” For no good reason I get so upset to see the bullpen walk guys so that one hit and the game is over. Señor Perez won the game and perhaps saved the next couple games.

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      • Yes, 45, I like that comment. And of course the cynic in me was already assuming Cionel would walk three guys and give up two runs and the game. His stats are terrible. But alas, the powers to be certainly brought up the right guy for last nights situation. How many time must the experts prove me wrong? I’m getting a complex.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. As soon as they put up the graphic in the first inning about how good the O’s are in the first inning, things went south for the Astros. I turned it off right then and went to the Hallmark channel, where I know everything that is going to happen before it happens.
    When the movie was over, I went back to the game and the count was 2-2 on Chirinos in the bottom of the 11th. The postgame show was a blast!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hinch said matter of factly in his post game session that the review at home plate was going to be his last play of the night no matter how it went. He had not seen a replay of the play at the plate.
    On the replay, the O’s catcher can’t handle the bounce cleanly and the ball pops out of his mitt. He picks it up and holds the ball up for the ump to see that he has it, but never tags Gurriel. While the catcher holds the ball up and the umpire is signaling safe, Gurriel finally sneaks his hand with the blue sliding glove on it and touches the near corner of the plate and you can only see that on one camera angle. But that angle is the reason they could call Yuli safe in the review.

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      • Yes he was. That would have been Hinch’s big dilemma. That also might be why the ump called him safe in the first place, before Yuli touched the plate.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, 45, I like that comment. And of course the cynic in me was already assuming Cionel would walk three guys and give up two runs and the game. His stats are terrible. But alas, the powers to be certainly brought up the right guy for last nights situation. How many time must the experts prove me wrong? I’m getting a complex.

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      • The blocking of the plate is what I told the Mrs. Myself, I would have lowered the boom on the catcher but that is the old fashioned player in me speaking. I watched the MLB Channel afterwards and they showed Gurriel sneaking his hand in there and also spoke about blocking the plate illegally.

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    • That was the closest I ever got to my childhood Met hero’s! It was almost better than the game. And of course, Ralph was an old fashioned slugger from the Pirates.

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    • Cake Walk

      And haven’t even seen the beast, Alvarez, yet…

      Pitching coming out of our ears (Urquidy, Ivey, Perez, Valdez, James, Martin, JBB, Javier, Abreu, Whitley, Paredes, Hartman, Bielak, Solomon, McHugh…) to go with JV, Cole Miley and Peacock.

      Predicted in December Myles Straw would make the playoff roster. Would you have said he would 2 weeks ago?

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  11. Baltimore’s record when facing a LH starter is 7-16.
    The O’s have a combined 3 AB’s against Framber.
    Andrew Cashner has gotten by far the most run support of any O’s pitcher. That is the main reason he is 6-2 while having a 5.04 ERA. The O’s have scored 6 runs per game in Cashner’s starts.

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  12. man o man haniger what a tough injury. i remember when beltre had a testicular contusion, he was out for months. im guessing haniger may be done for the season.

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  13. Going back to Kiner’s Korner, long before there were Mets, there was a home run battle between Ralph Kiner and Hank Sauer. Lots of discussion on the radio broadcast from Mutual Radio as to who was the best. Kiner lead the lead in the last 40’s and early 50’s for 7 years. Sauer tied him in 1952. But Kiner lead the league in homers one year with 23. (Obviously I was not listening in the 40’s).

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    • You know 45, that was a 1983 version of Kiners Korner. Not sure how many more years he did the show. I watched it until 1970, but then fate sent me to Houston on August 14. Had my first ride on an airplane, stayed at the Astroworld Hotel (broke a bed jumping up and down on it) and ordered food from a menu for a week! But the coolest thing was climbing over the fence and playing catch in the Dome parking lot when the team was on the road.

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