Spring training has already begun for Major League Baseball. However, there are still a few big name free agent players who have not been able to find a home as of yet. Bryce Harper is the biggest of those names. However, there is also a former Cy Young award winner who remains on the market. Dallas Keuchel won a Cy Young award with the Houston Astros. He has been looking for a long-term deal. However, he has not been able to find any takers. This is a bit surprising when you consider the track record that Keuchel has. However, this is the second year in a row that teams are tightening their purse strings where free agents are concerned. In previous years, Keuchel would have been signed long ago.
According to a report by Houston Chronicle, Keuchel was given a qualifying offer of $17.9 million to return to the Astros for the 2019 season. However, he and his agent rejected that offer. He believed that there was a bigger pot of gold to be found by exploring free agency. For a pitcher of Keuchel’s ability, that would usually be the case. However, things are not going the way he hoped. It is almost March and he does not appear close to inking a new deal. The owner of the Astros recently said that it was a possibility that Keuchel could return to the team. However, he would not confirm if the Astros have made a formal contract offer to the star pitcher.
There are a few things that could be holding up teams from giving Keuchel a contract offer that is acceptable to him. First of all, he is 31 years old. Teams are now shying away from offering very long contracts to players who are over 30. There is also the fact that Keuchel has dealt with some injury problems in the past. It is unknown how many years that Keuchel is seeking. He most likely would have already been signed if he would take a contract of two years. However, it seems likely that he wants a contract lasting four or five years. That will be much harder to find in these days of conservative spending in baseball.
Relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel is another star player who has been left in the cold as a free agent. However, he is known to be seeking $100 million. Keuchel will most likely not be asking for that much.