Opportunities in potential Dallas Keuchel deals

Almost exactly two years ago, December 30, 2019, the White Sox signed Dallas Keuchel arrive a three-year contract that secured him $55.5 million. Keuchel was excellent in the 2020 short campaign, throwing 63 1/3 innings with an ERA of 1.99. However, there are reasons to be skeptical of those results, as all advanced metrics suggest he should have been much worse (4.30 xERA, 3.98 xFIP, 4.57). SIERA).

That difference is largely due to his ever-decreasing sortie rate, as well as an unsustainable 4.7% HR/FB ratio. Keuchel has always been a guy who plays on the ground and has never had a terrible attack. During his Cy Young season, 2015, he hit his peak with a save rate of 23.7%, just slightly above that year’s league average of 20, 4%. Since then, the league average has been trending north, reaching 23.2% in 2021. However, Keuchel has steadily declined and is at 16.3% in 2020.

In 2021, his hit rate drops even further, reaching 13.2% and his batting luck has run out, sending his ERA skyrocketing to a career high of 5.28. The advanced stats feel largely deserved based on his lack of Ks, as evidenced by his 6.20 xERA, 4.74 xFIP and 5.01 SIERA.

With a guaranteed year left on his contract, it makes sense for the White Sox to consider trading him for a couple of reasons. First, his efficiency diminishes, as illustrated by the decreasing strike rate and increasing ERA. Maybe he can turn things around, but he turns 34 on New Year’s Day, meaning he’ll have to fight traditional aging trends to do so.

Second, it’s his salary. He will be paid $18 million in 2022, along with a $1.5 million buyout of a $20 million club option for 2023. The team is in unprecedented pay territory. yes, set a franchise record in 2021 with an Opening Day salary of $128.7 million. The White Sox is predicted to surpass that level in 2022, currently priced at around $180 million, according to estimates by the company. Jason Martinez of Roster Resource.

The problem with that club option, however, is that it’s really a club/match option. It’s guaranteed if Keuchel throws at least 160 in each of 2021 and 2022. He hit the first of those benchmarks after he threw 162 in 2021. Another season saw 160. and $20 million for 2023 will be secured. That’s not a hard limit for Keuchel to hit as long as he’s healthy. Over the past eight seasons, he’s hit that threshold in six of them if we’re proportional to his 2020 totals. In 2017 he missed some time with neck problems and only came in with shy odds, at 145 2/3 innings. In 2019, he hit 112 2/3, but that’s because he lingered in the free agency market until being signed by Atlanta a few months into the season, not making his season debut until the 21st. June. In other words, beyond that. neck problems in 2017, he’s a pretty reliable synergist, which means he has a good chance of triggering that pick.

This is where it is very difficult to queue up deals. A team with some room in its budget might be willing to spend Keuchel’s $18 million next season, but they’ll also have to consider the distinct possibility that Keuchel stays healthy and doubles down on commitment. , both in dollars and in years. It is possible that a team could buy Keuchel and intentionally limit his plays to prevent a contested selection, but that kind of direct manipulation has the potential to lead to lawsuits, whether official or unofficial. awake. An example of how an informal complaint can harm a team can reduce the chances of a player signing or renewing a contract if the organization is not tight-lipped in its dealings with players. Perhaps the White Sox can turn a big profit for the team on the other end of the deal by bringing in a potential client or two, but the trouble is their farm isn’t in good shape, at least according to Baseball America, their rating agency died last in the most recent tournament Organizational talent rankings.

Perhaps the best move for the White Sox is to stand pat Keuchel and hope that he gets a rehab campaign. Their starting five spins appear to be steady, with Keuchel joining in Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Dylan stopped and Michael Kopech. However, teams need more than five starters to get through a season and their depth isn’t too strong. Jonathan Stiever and Jimmy Lambert are the intensive options on the 40-man list, but neither of them have more than 15 MLB runs – and their Triple-A numbers so far aren’t too exciting. Even if the club find the money to add a starter, they may need Keuchel’s help to get through the season at AL Central which is becoming more competitive.

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