Free-agent left-hander Dallas Keuchel hasn’t pitched in a major league game since last October and didn’t participate in spring training. As a result, there’s plenty of concern over how fast Keuchel will be ready to join a team when he ends his months-long stay on the open market and signs. But clubs shouldn’t worry about Keuchel’s preparedness, according to agent Scott Boras, who told Jon Morosi of MLB.com on Thursday that his client could be good to pitch within approximately a week of signing.
Keuchel has been throwing a 95- to 104-pitch sim game every five days to stay in shape, Boras said. We’ve heard that before (links here), but the potential one-week time frame is a new development. However, it’s likely worth taking with a grain of salt. For one, it’s not unusual for Boras to publicly talk up a client. Beyond that, it would be reasonable for Keuchel’s next employer to prefer for the 31-year-old to embark on a short minor league tuneup. Doing so would give Keuchel an opportunity to pitch in a real game (or games) before he potentially impacts a major league pennant race.
Keuchel has garnered plenty of big-game experience, including with the World Series-winning Astros in 2017, and carries a tremendous regular-season track record going back to his 2014 breakout. Nevertheless, the 2015 AL Cy Young winner hasn’t been able to find a team since free agency opened last Oct. 29. Free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel is in the same boat, but it’s one that figures to finally reach shore soon.
After midnight on June 2, the day before the draft begins, teams will be able to sign Keuchel or Kimbrel without having to pay anything other than money. Clubs would have to surrender draft compensation before then, which has helped lead to this impasse between MLB and the two high-profile free agents.