Stearns could have another deal up his sleeve ; Brewers eyeing Keuchel
Milwaukee, WI ~ With less than a month to go before the Milwaukee Brewers head to Arizona, many may think that general manager David Stearns has finished his off-season duties, ready to continue with the squad he has. It would be reasonable, considering Milwaukee Opening Day payroll is $ 112 million, a franchise record for the club. The Brewers roster looks complete, besides the second base situation, which doesn’t look that bad. However, according to a respected broadcaster in Atlanta, Paul Crane, the Brewers are one of the three teams still eyeing free agent starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award Winner. Milwaukee is among the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros for the teams fighting for Keuchel.
Keuchel was projected to be the second best free agent starting pitcher this offseason, but because of how late it is, and Crane’s report, Keuchel most likely will not receive the $82 million deal he was projected to get. Keuchel is 31 years old, which can be risky, especially when you are paying lots of money. Keuchel battled neck and shoulder injuries in 2017, which adds to the skepticism of signing him. In 2018, however, Keuchel pitched 204 innings for the Astros. Last season, Keuchel finished with a 3.74 ERA and a 2.64 strikeout to walk ratio.
Keuchel’s main skill is very hidden – maintaining control and quality of contact. He keeps the ball on the ground unlike most pitchers, a skill that can be very useful in big games. According to StatCast, in all his career, Keuchel’s hard contact rate is only 25.3 percent. From that data, Keuchel would fit great in the Brewers run prevention in early innings. Milwaukee doesn’t have the most overpowering pitchers, but with the ability to confidently pitch to contact and allowing shifts to work, Keuchel would fit with the system.
With that said, do the Brewers, a small market team, really want to spend big money on a guy who doesn’t have the same power stuff he once had ? If Stearns believes that Keuchel can help Milwaukee win a World Series, he may be willing to go after a high price tag.
By Jacob Szczap