Looking to give the starting rotation a much needed upgrade, the Cincinnati Reds reportedly have free agent Dallas Keuchel on their radar.
Keuchel had something of a down year for the Houston Astros in 2018, posting a 3.74 ERA and 1.31 WHIP (as compared to his 2.90 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 2017). But that hasn’t dulled Cincinnati’s enthusiasm.
“The Reds are said to be “all over” Dallas Keuchel,” Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports said. “Apparently, Cincinnati believes that he is fit for a small ballpark such as Great America.”
The Reds are definitely on the right track. This team absolutely has an offense that can contend. But the pitching rotation needs a massive upgrade. Cincinnati’s starters posted a 5.02 ERA in 2018, the sixth-worst total in baseball.
But, is Keuchel the right guy?
The good news is that ballpark shouldn’t be much of a concern. Keuchel has been a top-tier starter while pitching at Minute Maid Park in Houston, which is also a live yard. So, we shouldn’t expect regression just because Cincinnati is a big hitter’s park.
The problem is more that Keuchel will be 31 on New Year’s Day. Granted, he’s not an overwhelming power pitcher. In theory, that means that his game should age pretty well. But while he made a career-high 34 starts in 2018, injuries shortened his season in both 2016 and 2017.
So, while the ballpark isn’t an alarming question, general regression is quite concerning. If the Reds are going to compete, they’ll need a much better rotation. Signing Keuchel would be a big move towards that, but it’d also be risky.