News from the #GetThePitching front per Jon Heyman (Fancred Sports): 

“The Reds are said to be ‘all over’ Dallas Keuchel. Apparently, Cincinnati believes that he is fit for a small ballpark such as Great America.”

Keuchel is a free agent. He turns 31 on Jan. 1. Keuchel just finished several strong years for the Houston Astros. He’s projected to sign a 4-year deal for $80 million. Keuchel has a high ground ball rate (53.7% in 2018), which is surely why the Reds are “all over” him. But Keuchel’s strikeout rate is low (17.5% in 2018) and declining. He’s an excellent pitcher, and would help the Reds. But Keuchel doesn’t project as an ace going forward.  

Matt Wilkes wrote a terrific, detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of signing Keuchel about a month ago. 

58 Responses

  1. Kelly Green

    “But Keuchel doesn’t project as an ace going forward.” He would definitely be the “ace” of our staff going forward! Sign him NOW…please!

  2. WVRedlegs

    Don’t think they should be interested in Keuchel if it is going to go beyond 4 years and $80M. Plus he is a Scott Boras client to boot. Plus draft pick compensation is tied to signing Keuchel. Reds would have to give up second round pick in next year’s draft in signing any free agent that declined a QO. That is an unnecessary price that the Reds would have to pay.
    Personally, I wish they would go after Noah Syndergaard first and foremost, then find a second tier starting pitcher from the free agent market. Even if it takes Hunter Greene to get Syndergaard.
    The road to take would be Syndergaard via trade. Eovaldi via free agency, if they are aiming high, with no draft pick compensation tied to him.

    • Bryan E

      The Mets would want Senzel + + + for Thor and Eovaldi has a nasty injury history. Kuechel has health and peripherals on his side. I think anything between 4/78 and 4/88 is reasonable for a pitcher of Kuechel’s quality.

      Given that the Reds were a revenue sharing team last year, they would only be required to give up their third highest pick for signing a QO player. I don’t see how giving up a third round/comp bal A pick is worse than giving up two or more top prospects for a guy like Syndergaard.

      • WVRedlegs

        Disagree wholeheartedly. Won’t cost Senzel at all if Greene is the headliner. And the Mets like India.
        Signing a free agent that declined a QO, that team, if a revenue sharing team, would forfeit its third overall pick, which would be a second round pick in the mid-40’s overall. In of itself, that pick alone is not a deal breaker, but it also isn’t a throwaway. However, it would be a part of the price to sign that type of free agent. And if you want to sign OF AJ Pollack, then that will cost another draft pick too, which would be the Reds 3rd round pick.
        Trade for that top of rotation starter and sign a second tier free agent starter makes more sense.

      • ghettotrout1

        I actually agree with WV I highly doubt the Mets would require Senzel if Greene is included. I still find it very odd that the Mets are trying to shop Syndergaard so hard given he is a top ten talent in the league but then they are going to take on Cano which would signal win now. I have a hard time believing that flipping Syndergaard is going to accomplish win now atleast in the time frame of keeping their pitching staff in tact and Cano being reasonably valuable. If they are this open about Syndergaard I would say either they know something everyone else doesn’t or they would be willing to take a less than favorable deal. Similar to how I feel about Sonny Gray if a team is that willing to let it be known they want someone gone I have to imagine it could hurt their return but who knows I’m just a random dumpy Reds fan desperately hoping for wins LOL.

      • Colorado Red

        I would do both.
        If they can pick up Dallas va FA (cost a 2nd round ) and pickup Thor it would be great.
        Yes it would cost Nick and more. But a rotation of Dallas, Thor, Luis, and Tyler is a really good start.

      • greenmtred

        Thye certainly need rotation help, but too many of the 8 other positions are in flux now to trade Senzel. As for Keukel, he would probably help a good deal in 2019, but it seems possible that his age will become a factor at just about the time that the Reds are competitive again.

    • Thomas Jefferson

      WV, do you think the Mets would trade Syndergaard if they are not concerned about his injury probability. A healthy Syndergaard is a shut down top of the rotation guy who is controlled for three more years. No matter how much they think they need to take a step back before going forward, having an ace on their staff in 2020 and 2021 feels so much more appealing than getting Senzel and Greene from the Reds (if I am in the Mets shoes). I fear that the only way he is available is if he is likely to spend a lot of time on the DL. Your thoughts?

      • WVRedlegs

        I am not sure why the new GM of the Mets wants to trade Syndergaard and then turn around and sign a free agent pitcher. It does allow him to fill some lineup holes. I guess that their GM feels like they could only extend one of Syndergaard or deGrom and have settled on trying to extend deGrom. And will use the other to obtain needed parts.

      • Thomas Jefferson

        Thanks. He should get some great ‘needed parts’ for Syndergaard, but will leave a big hole in his rotation.

  3. Matt Hendley

    Mets are already saying Syndergaard is out, and they are attempting to compete. Kutchel is alright i guess…would be a fit on a backloaded contract to avoid baileys money. I dont think he is signing though. On board with a nathan Eovaldi signing and get this…trading for mike leake. Obviously knows the park, Mariners are rebuilding, and shouldnt cost the top 3 in a trade (senzel, green and Trammell) send Bobby Steve, one of the pitchers still in the minors like howard or someone and aquino.

  4. old-school

    The Reds can free up $46 million in 2020 if Gennett 11 million and Hamilton 7 million and Homer 23 million plus 5 million buyout is purged.

    Keuchel plus Castillo plus Harvey at 20/2 plus Disco plus Reed/Mahle etc is a marked improvement from 2018. Most importantly, its Bob’s money. Who cares? The prospects stay in the organization.

    • Jay Thomas

      Agree. One pitcher alone is not nearly enough to destabilize the rebuild by trading Senzel and Greene. Yes, Latos helped the Reds in 2012 make a run at it, but what would the team look like now if they had kept Alonzo, Boxberger, and Grandal, either with the Reds or as better trade pieces once they blossomed? And the Reds are nowhere near as close to contending as they were then.

      • Broseph

        Uhh. I’d rather have Votto and Iglesias than Alonzo and Boxberger on any field, day, or planet. They were expendable pieces that had nowhere to go and are just above average players, maybe good players at best. Not all stars. Throw Grandal in there too who is hit or miss and definitely a miss in the 2018 playoffs.

        I don’t think they even returned much in trade after leaving the org either.

        I get the argument and agree, but everyone hating the Mat Lagos trade doesn’t realize the Reds gave up role players that were blocked by better players for many years. Green and Senzel, and even India are not blocked and project much higher than those pieces from the Latos trade.

      • greenmtred

        Agree about the Latos trade. The Reds in 2012 were arguably one good starter away from serious contention, so adding that missing piece made sense. Not the situation now, since they’re missing considerably more than one starting pitcher.

      • lwblogger2

        Yes, this is pretty much how I feel about it too and it is how I felt about the Latos trade then. The Latos move was expensive but he was the right pitcher an the right time. Grandal is really the only guy I think the Reds “miss” from that trade and I think it took him rather than Mes to get it done. If I’m the Reds, I make that trade even in hindsight. They aren’t in the same position now as then so giving up top prospects for a single pitcher who won’t be enough to put them in contention makes no sense to me.

    • Streamer88

      This. I’ve argued on here before that signing the Ace (Dallas is an Ace no longer I know…) from free agency could actually save us net dollars by now being able to keep prospects for future use at the MLB level (thus not signing free agents for those positions) and also having them to trade for other assets, AND every middling starter we can replace with a real starter makes for one more arm in the bullpen, saving money from having to sign that person.

      If the numbers are right, I’d love me some Dallas. His peripherals (imho) suggest that his decline, while no doubt approaching, will be less of a crash.

  5. Aaron Bradley

    Apparently there is an article in USA Today fantasizing about Bryce Harper on the Reds… personally, I think they SHOULD improve the offense, and worry about pitching later. Early in the year we came up short in games because the offense failed.. the pitchers i.e. Homer (zero run support on opening day despite a stellar start) loses confidence, then later in the summer they score runs by the buckets when they are in high scoring affairs. The offense needs an upgrade, Billy goes to bench, Harper starts in CF, BIlly plays on West coast and rest one of the corners. Billy nice weapon defensive switch at end of game at home and in small parks.

    • Aaron Bradley

      If not Harper, someone else but we need another bat in the outfield.

      • Bill

        If Senzel can play CF I am good with Winker and Schebler for now. I would really prefer money get spent on pitching

    • Bill

      I knew those articles would start showing up after he was on the OSU sideline last week.

      In real news Dilson Herrera signed with the Mets

      • lwblogger2

        Makes sense since they were reluctant to part with him in the first place. They know he can hit. Letting him go for absolutely nothing is going to prove to be a mistake for the Reds. It may not be a giant mistake but a mistake nonetheless.

    • Shchi Cossack

      I whole-heartedly agree that the offense needs to improve from a marginally good offense last season, but that should happen with little to no effort or pain.

      Scooter proved that his offense was not a mirage last season and should continue at a 120 wRC+ thru the 2019 season. Suarez should also produce at least a 120 wRC+. Votto’s power reduction was scary, but he still produced a .130 ISO and a 130 wRC+. I don’t expect an improved offensive performance from Peraza, but he should still manage a 100 wRC+. Likewise, Barnhart should contribute a steady 90 wRC+ from the catching position. The improvement will come from the OF and it should be a significant improvement.

      If Senzel doesn’t produce at least a 120 wRC+, I will be absolutely stunned. WInker has apparently fully recovered from shoulder surgery (see Sheldon’s story on MLB for some great feel-good news) and may have a huge breakout season in 2019, well beyond his .130 ISO and 130 wRC+ from 2018. Schebler may get and stay healthy to improve his consistency and offensive productivity well beyond his 100 wRC+.

      That’s a significantly improved offense from last season without any external additions. tucker will find himself hitting in the #8 hole again where he does his best work, so that only leaves Peraza as a possible weak link in the offense and that could be league-average.

      • Broseph

        I get the feeling Winker will have a so-so year and not bust out for another one or two. A la Zack Cozart after injury. I’d love to be wrong and hope to seem him slashing balls all over GABP.

      • roger garrett

        Long way to getting there but in order to compete we must be in the middle of the pack in pitching and a top 5 offense to compete in our division alone.Senzel in and Billy out will help but we need a thumper in the middle of the lineup but if Senzel and Winker can hit 20 bombs a piece I may defer on the signing of a thumper.Just can’t get out homered at home regardless of how bad we pitch.

    • Davy13

      I totally agree with you. I harped (pun well-intended) on that all of last season. The offense as it currently stands can be explosive, but it is not consistent. It racks up big numbers in chunks but for large stretches it was low-ebb, and it cost games. Besides, the team’s franchise hitter (Votto) is aging. Another cornerstone offensive player alongside Genio is needed. I’ve rooted for the team to sign Machado, but Harper would work for me.

    • greenmtred

      They do need to improve the offense, but they can’t wait til later to worry about the pitching. All teams come up short in some games due to failure to score enough runs–this is true, by definition, of every loss–but the Reds gave up too many runs to make success possible.

  6. Brandon Bowling

    I say sign Keuchel if they can. Outbid other teams to get him. I’m not going to be that worried about overpaying a declining Keuchel four years from now, if he helps the Reds be competitive in the next 3 years. No offense to anyone, but if people are going to complain about Votto’s contract, considering how much value he has provided…some people are going to complain about any sizable contract. I say the Reds have lost 90+ games for four straight years, maybe it’s time for Billionaire Bob to open up the checkbook and try to put on a decent show for a few years.

    Why rebuild, if no one ever wants to pull the trigger and go for it?

    • Shchi Cossack

      Expensive, long-term contracts to aging pitchers on the wrong side of the aging curve represent a significantly greater risk than expensive, long-term contracts to position players. The Reds have 1 more season of dealing with Bailey’s budget strangling contract, but I fear BC did not learn from that experience and will double down with another budget strangling contract for a starting pitcher.

      The FA starters this off season are under-whelming and fraught with misplaced delusions of grandeur, even at the top shelf. The Reds certainly need to open the coffers, but they also need to spend wisely. Bringing in 1 or 2 2nd tier FA starters at good value or trading for a 2nd tier starter (I like the idea of making a run at Leake) to provide stability in the starting rotation is a much better approach than emptying the pantry of top minor league prospects the Reds will need in 2-3 seasons or crippling the budget when the Reds need to spend big for contract extensions or a key FA acquisition in 2-3 seasons.

      • Scott C

        I pretty much said the same thing on another site. You have a pitcher that is already on the wrong side of thirty and already missing bats less frequently and then he is wanting 20+ million a year for 4 years. An owner who wants to make a big splash to show he is serious about contending and then add that his agent is Boras. No thanks I think it would be a big mistake.

      • Streamer88

        Wait so how many free agent star pitchers are on the right side of 30?

        Keuchel is 31.

        And in reference to the Homer Bailey contract — what a bomb — but it wasn’t the reason we were rebuilding and it had no impact on the rebuild other than Homer took some innings from rookies.

  7. Corky Miller

    Signing a soft tossing lefty with this infield defense will be a disaster. They need someone that will miss bats – Eovaldi, trade for Jon Gray or Syndergard if they want to improve. Do not trade Hunter Greene!!!!

    Kuechel reminds me of the Eric Milton signing…just saying.

    • roger garrett

      I agree.He could give up 40 bombs easy and its not about him.Its about the park.Would rather we go after a guy that could hit 40 rather then a pitcher who would throw 40.No worries though cause he knows this too so he ain’t coming here unless the money and years are off the charts.

    • lwblogger2

      I’d agree that it looks similar at first blush but Milton was historically an extreme fly-ball pitcher. He gave up HR in bunches in Philly even before the Reds signed him. I don’t think I’d sign Dallas for 4yrs/$80-million or more but it isn’t as apples-to-apples with Milton as some may suspect.

  8. ToBeDetermined

    “Kuechel reminds me of the Eric Milton signing”.
    I thought the same thing initially. Both 6’3″ Both 200 lb Both Lefthanded.

    But Kuechel is a groundball pitcher. And Milton was a HomeRun, oops, I mean fly ball pitcher.

    • Streamer88

      Would you consider John Lester to be a soft tossing lefty? Dallas has higher FB velocity than Lester no?

      • Matt Esberger

        Keuchel has never given up more than 20 HRs a season while pitching half his games at Minute Maid Park. Keep in mind he faced righty dominated line-ups with the DH at a place that Danny Graves went yard twice. Eric Milton averaged given up about 34 HRs in his career.

      • Corky Miller

        Good point, but he’s still a guy that is only as good as his infield defense.

        Bregman, Correa, Altuve, and Guerriel is in another league defensively compared to Suarez, Peraza, Gennett, and Votto.

        Add that to his age and continued declining velocity, and you better expect some regression. If he’s wanting $15mil or more for 4 years, I’d pass. You’d get the same numbers from Gio for half the price.

        Got to wonder why Houston isn’t trying to retain him. They lost Mccullers for the year, and Morton is likely gone also.

  9. Scotly50

    I would rather not have Keuchel as “the Ace”. The Reds are in a division with the Cubs, Cardinals and Brewers. All upgrading their rosters after a season of feasting on the Reds. Any mediocre attempts mentioned, thus far, will still land the team at or near the bottom.

    Maybe look to Cleveland for Bauer, or Kluber with Keuchel as the two starter.

    I feel the Reds still need a middle-of-the-lineup bat, two starters, and two relief arms,(They may already have these by moving the arms who do not make the rotation to the pen.). Address those and I fee they may have a good shot at competing in the division.

    • Sliotar

      @Scotly50….excellent post.

      Signing Keuchel is a “Mission Accomplished” moment for Blustery Bob Castellini, but there is much work still to be done in several spots to move the needle on the Reds chances.

      2019 Steamer projections (not end-all/be-all, but traditionally a fairly accurate metric)

      3.2 WAR….7.11 K/9…..3.68 xFIP

      Pitcher X
      1.6 WAR…..8.35 K/9…..4.29 xFIP

      Pitcher X is Anibal Sanchez, who is projected to make $8M on a one year deal.

      Boras will likely land a “GABP Premium”….Keuchel signing at 4 yrs at $25 per or close. .

      There are guys who will sign after Jan 1 who will outperform Keuchel in 2019 on a per $ invested basis. If the Reds are going to sink years and $ in an old 3 win SP, they better follow up with one of them…or find a big SP in a trade.

      • Matt Hendley

        Enter Mike Leake, the more i think about it the more I like it. Dude probebly wants to hit home runs anyway. Cant do that in Seattle. I do like sanchez…..injury risk though.

      • doofus

        Why not Marco Gonzalez instead of Leake?

  10. Old-school

    Dan Straily could be non-tendered.
    He was a solid innings eater who could be cheap.

    • lwblogger2

      Would rather bring him in than sign Harvey.

  11. davemoorewvu

    According to Morosi, the Reds have checked in on Zack Greinke.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Maybe the D-backs would take Homer as part of a package that would be highlighted by swapping bad contracts. Greinke’s contract has three years, $100.345 million remaining. Homer has $28 million still owed, so the net of that swap would be $72.345 million additional to the Reds payroll over three years, or an average of $24 million per year.

      Just for the sake of discussion, who would you rather pay $72.345 million to over the next three years? Dallas Kuechel? Nathan Eovaldi? or Zach Greinke? Based on performance history alone, it’s Greinke hands-down. If you can get Kuechel or Eovaldi for considerably less, then do that. But we’ll see where the market settles for those two.

      Along with Bailey, you’d also have to send some talent the D-backs can actually use their way. With A.J. Pollock now a free agent, they might want to take a look at Billy Hamilton. They probably would want a young starter to compete for a spot in their rotation, so maybe Stephenson, Reed or one of that crew.

  12. Sliotar

    The Mariners are using top reliever Edwin Diaz as a sweetener for the Mets to take Robinson Cano and his remaining contract.

    (An example of “Always Being Trading Closers.” Kudos, Steve, for coining it here…or maybe it was someone else. A lot of clever folks post here.)

    Related.. ..IMO, if the Reds try to land Kluber/Carrasco/Bauer from Cleveland in a trade, they likely will be required to take on a 1-year remaining bad contract as welll…Yonder Alonso or Jason Kipnis.

  13. Tom Mitsoff

    I am not in favor of “innings eaters” such as Leake and Straily. The objective has to be to acquire starting pitchers who can be difference-makers. Whether or not that can be achieved remains to be seen.

    • roger garrett

      I agree Tom.Been doing that for a couple of years now while younger guys watch and that will not get it done now or in the future.

    • doofus

      Agree. It’s time to get talented pitchers, not just “innings” eaters.

  14. Matt Hendley

    Wishes get answered, billy Hamilton to be non tendered. Just reported.

  15. Rut

    Perhaps it is just my take, but Derek Johnson seems like just the guy to help Kuechel get that slider back to nasty — he did it with Chacin, and Kuechel quite a bit better overall than that

  16. jreis

    I don’t like the idea of paying 80 million on a pitcher. I still think we give our young guys another chance. you have to think between Castillo, Mahle, Romano, Reed, Garret, Lorenzen, Disco you have at least 4 eventual solid starters. The reds I believe have found a niche in resurrecting veteran pitcher’s careers over the past few seasons with the likes of Harvey, Straley, Feldman and I think they should continue to pursue these options to fill in the rest of the roster.
    the most cost effective way to improve the pitching staff in my opinion is to reconstruct GABP into a more pitcher friendly ballpark. Im talking Polo Grounds dimensions. and put the new synthetic turf instead of the grass while we are at it to speed up the game. speed is much cheaper than power these days so we may as well have a stadium that allows speed to dominate.

  17. Matt Hendley

    And just like that Greinke is out. Can block a trade to Cincinnati

  18. doofus

    How much of this Keuchel noise is the usual “leaks” coming from Scott Boras?

    • Shchi Cossack

      Per DW as reported by Fay…

      “I will say the reports as a whole I’ve been surprised by how inaccurate they’ve been. They’ve taken us by surprise because they were so off base. I’m not going to comment on which ones they were. I’ll just caution that in general that those statements on a guy we’re in on or not in on . . . I just don’t know where that comes from.”