The Phillies need one more starter to get them through 2020
After Cole Hamels took his talents to Atlanta, the Phillies were left once again without a strong lefty presence in their rotation.
As of Dec. 11, the Phillies 2020 rotation consists of six righties: Nola, Wheeler, Arrieta, Eflin and Velasquez/Pivetta. With free agents continuing to fly off the market each day, the Phillies need to be aggressive in their pursuit of a proper southpaw pitcher before it’s too late.
Enter Dallas Keuchel. The former Cy Young winner still awaits a new contract after his time with the Braves ended, following just half a season. Keuchel’s accomplishments speak for themselves: 84 wins, a career 3.64 ERA, 4 Gold Gloves, 2 All-Star appearances, a World Series ring, MVP votes in 2015, and of course the previously mentioned Cy Young trophy. Despite what the public may perceive him as, Keuchel has all the accolades similar to that of soon-to-be $100 million dollar pitcher: Madison Bumgarner.
Keuchel had a strange offseason prior to the 2019 season. In a year where players were holding out until the very last minute to get their paycheck, Keuchel and his agent seemingly misplayed the market. The lefty wasn’t signed until about midway through the year and only received a one year deal.
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Keuchel was unable to obtain a lengthy payday like he hoped due to his age and declining velocity. Many front offices looked to current Phillie Jake Arrieta as a similar example. However, despite said concerns, Keuchel actually had himself a very productive 2019. In 19 starts he went 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA and was a crucial piece to the Braves winning the NL East.
While “3.75 ERA” doesn’t scream Ace-material to anyone, it’s still a considerable upgrade over anyone Philadelphia could throw out there. Vince Velasquez recorded a 4.91 ERA in 2019, Nick Pivetta a 5.38, Zach Eflin a 4.13, and Jake Arrieta a 4.64. While Keuchel is in fact on the wrong side of 30 these days, he would still immediately slot into the rotation as their third best starter.
Matt Klentak and the Philly front office made a serious mistake last year, they never even contacted Keuchel about a potential offer. After Keuchel dominated the Phillies over the course of a six inning performance in early September, he was outspoken on the Phillies lack of interest.
“I mean, if you don’t come calling what is there for me to be mad about?…I think a lot of those guys over there in the front office are second-guessing themselves, and, I mean, I would too.” (Jim Salisbury NBCSports)
The Phillies have an interesting opportunity currently. Very rarely in sports do you get a full on second chance to right your wrongs. Signing Keuchel to a 1/2 year deal drastically improves our team while also fixing a mistake that never should have happened in the first place.