Milwaukee Brewers: Is it time to sign Dallas Keuchel?

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 16, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 16, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

It’s been an up and down season so far for the Milwaukee Brewers young starting pitchers, so is it time to go get Dallas Keuchel?

It is still very early in the season, but through the first few weeks we have seen the young pitchers in the Milwaukee Brewers rotation take their lumps.

Freddy Peralta hasn’t made it out of the fourth inning in two of his three starts, while Corbin Burnes has given up nine home runs in 14.1 innings of work. And Brandon Woodruff has given up four earned runs in two of his three starts and holds a 6.00 ERA.

As a collective unit, the Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation holds a 5.51 ERA, which ranks in the bottom half of the league. There is the hope that Jimmy Nelson will return soon and be in his 2017 from, but we don’t know when that return will be and those expectations are quite lofty considering he hasn’t pitched in a year and a half.

General Manager David Stearns and the Milwaukee Brewers are in a bit of a tough place as they want to develop their young pitchers and know that patience is required to do so. However, we know that a season like 2019 has the potential to be something very special and that doesn’t happen very often for us Brewers fans, so it needs to be taken advantage of.

Dallas Keuchel’s impact

Keuchel has spent his entire career with the Houston Astros, including a 2015 season in which he won the AL’s Cy Young award.

The left-hander, which Milwaukee does not currently have in the rotation, holds a career 3.66 ERA, with a 1.250 WHIP. He is a ground ball heavy pitcher, which will serve him well in the hitter-friendly confines of Miller Park.

He wasn’t as dominant in 2018 as he had been in past years, but there is no question that he would be a big boost to this Brewers rotation both on and off the field. As a World Series Champion with plenty of playoff experience, Keuchel would be a great locker room piece for a team that has World Series aspirations but lacks playoff experience within the starting rotation.

We also have to factor in the trickle down effect to the bullpen that the Keuchel signing would have. With Jeremy Jeffress missing the first few weeks and Corey Knebel out for the season, it’s quite clear that this bullpen isn’t the same as it was in 2018.

The addition of Keuchel would cause someone from the rotation to be moved to the pen. All three of Milwaukee’s young pitchers have bullpen experience from 2018 and all performed quite well. Having a pitcher of their caliber as a new option out of the pen would help greatly.

Keuchel is also a pitcher that eats up innings, as three times in his career he has thrown over 200 innings in a season. His ability to go late into games will give Milwaukee’s bullpen some much-needed relief, since we’ve seen a number of early exits from the starters this year already.

Potential concerns

While there are plenty of positives to signing Keuchel, there are a few things to be cautious of as well. If signed today, it may take Keuchel a month or so in Triple-A San Antonio before he will be game ready since he has missed Spring Training. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to keep in mind.

Recently we have seen the negative impact that missing Spring Training can have on a pitcher. Last season we saw the St. Louis Cardinals sign Greg Holland to a big contract once the season had begun. Holland was coming off of an All-Star season in 2017, but was quite underwhelming in St. Louis and didn’t live up to the contract he was given.

Now, this doesn’t mean Keuchel and the Milwaukee Brewers would suffer the same fate, but once again, it is something to keep in mind.

There is also the fact that whoever signs Keuchel is going to be spending a lot of money. Although recently Keuchel’s camp has backed off from demanding a multi-year deal, he will still likely cost $18 million at a minimum for the 2019 season, given that he turned down the Astros $17.9 million qualifying offer.

This offseason, much has been made about the Milwaukee Brewers payroll, which is already record-setting for the small market team, and whether they can afford another big contract or not.

While long-term this kind of spending may not be viable for the Brewers, the big contracts of Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas and potentially Keuchel’s, are just one-year deals. Sure the team profits for 2019 may not be as great, but as I said above, how often do the Milwaukee Brewers have the opportunity to do something this special?

dark. Next. Adrian Houser should be added to the bullpen

Ultimately, if Milwaukee can make this arrangement work financially, I think they have to strongly consider it. Of course, patience is needed with the young staff but moving one of them to the bullpen where they will still play an important role for a proven veteran pitcher isn’t going to hurt anyone’s psyche. And the move would not only improve the starting rotation, but the bullpen as well.

The Milwaukee Brewers are a legit World Series contender this season and if they have the opportunity to bring in an arm like Keuchel, they should do it.