LHP, Dallas Keuchel
Dallas Keuchel is probably the first free agent name that registers with Rangers fans beyond Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Keuchel has been a thorn in the Rangers side for years pitching for in-state and division rivals, the Houston Astros.
Keuchel is coming off a decent 2018 campaign for Houston that saw him make 34 starts and throw over 200 innings. His fastball has seen a drop in velocity over the past couple of years but at 31, he’s still an effective pitcher with a few good years ahead of him. He’s never been a strikeout machine but relies on generating soft contact and ground balls to get outs.
For Texas, having a chance at signing Keuchel stems around selling the lefty on the future of the club. Having played for a World Series contender and winner over the past few seasons, the current state of the Rangers doesn’t offer much draw for Keuchel. However, Texas is poised to have a successful future with the state of their lower level minor league prospects and the young talent currently in the club. If Texas can bring in Keuchel, it means they can develop a frontline starter and have an effective rotation moving forward.
There is a big stumbling block to signing Keuchel though and that’s his contract demands. He and his agent, Scott Boras, are reportedly seeking a 5-year contract that is a major turn off for big league teams and the dominant reason he hasn’t signed yet. If Texas can get him to sign a 4-year contract, preferably worth between $20 million and $21 million a year I think this is a great opportunity. Any longer or more per year and it’s probably not worth it.