A match between the Padres and Keuchel looked like a possibility on multiple occasions during the offseason, though reports indicated a union was improbable. However, at those points of the winter, few would have expected Keuchel to remain without a team nearly two full months into the current campaign. Odds are Keuchel will have to wait at least a couple more weeks to sign, as it wouldn’t make much sense at this juncture for a team to ink the 31-year-old before the June 3 draft. Because Keuchel rejected a qualifying offer from the Astros, a club that signs him prior to the draft would have to surrender a pick. The former AL Cy Young winner will be free of that burden soon, however, which could finally end the staring contest between him and teams in need of starting pitching.
It’s no secret the Padres want to bolster their own rotation, but if they don’t have a change of heart on Keuchel, any noteworthy addition will have to come via trade. Dating back to the offseason, reports have tied the Padres to several controllable hurlers – most recently the Indians’ Trevor Bauer – though their attempt at going big-game hunting for a starter hasn’t yielded anything yet.
The Padres’ unsuccessful pursuits on the trade front have left them with a youth-laden rotation that has been a mixed bag this season. Chris Paddack, Matt Strahm and Joey Lucchesi have held their own (though San Diego’s monitoring the workloads of Paddack and Strahm), while Eric Lauer and the just-demoted Nick Margevicius have had difficulty preventing runs. The team called on Cal Quantrill to take over Margevicius’ vacated rotation spot Sunday, but he struggled during a loss to the Pirates.