SEPTEMBER 5: Keuchel has been released, according to his transactions log at MLB.com.
Keuchel was signed to a minor league deal in late July, and his contract was officially selected to the big league roster on August 27. Unfortunately for Keuchel, his two starts in a Texas uniform were disasters, as he allowed seven runs in each outing and has a 12.60 ERA to show for his 10 innings as a Ranger.
It has been a rough season overall for the 34-year-old, who has a 9.20 ERA over 60 2/3 cumulative innings with the Rangers, Diamondbacks, and White Sox. Beginning the season in Chicago, Keuchel struggled to the point that he was released in late May, with the Sox eating the approximate $13MM still owed to Keuchel in the final year of his three-year, $55.5MM contract.
The D’Backs and Rangers therefore only had to pay Keuchel the prorated portion of a Major League minimum salary during his brief time on their active rosters, as the White Sox covered the rest of the bill. It was a low-cost risk for the two clubs to see if Keuchel could benefit from a change of scenery, yet the veteran struggled at every stop.
While there has long been speculation about how long Keuchel’s ground-heavy, low-strikeout approach would continue to be successful, the lefty was still a front-of-the-rotation arm as recently as 2020, when he finished fifth in AL Cy Young Award voting in his first season with the White Sox. However, Keuchel’s numbers already declined considerably in 2021, as he started to allow considerably more hard contact and his walk rate fell. Those problems have only deepened in 2022, with Keuchel’s 10.2% walk rate falling in only the 20th percentile of all pitchers.
It seems a given that Keuchel will pass through waivers again, and it seems likely that the Rangers will release him rather than outright him to Triple-A. The southpaw’s career track record could land him another minors contract during the offseason, yet as he approaches what would be his age-35 season, the possibility exists that Keuchel is simply no longer an effective Major League pitcher. Retirement could be a possibility after 11 MLB seasons, but with that 2020 performance still so recent, it also wouldn’t be surprising to see Keuchel keep grinding to see if he could get his career back on track.