The Houston Astros extended a qualifying offer to starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel on Friday, ensuring they will receive draft pick compensation if he declines it and leaves in free agency.
#Astros announce they've extended a qualifying offer to Dallas Keuchel. He has until Nov. 12 to decide if he will accept it.
— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) November 2, 2018
Keuchel became just the seventh player to receive a qualifying offer this season. Like the other six players, he is expected to reject the one-year, $17.9 million offer and become a free agent.
A former Cy Young winner, Keuchel heads into free agency coming off a solid but not spectacular season. The 30-year-old southpaw recorded a 3.74 ERA and 1.31 WHIP across 34 starts this season with 153 strikeouts in 204 2/3 innings.
Keuchel will be coveted by a plethora of teams this offseason, including the New York Yankees, with many teams desperately in need of a strong mid-rotation starter with the upside to be a No. 2 starter in a rotation.
The Astros will certainly explore retaining Keuchel this offseason, but a deep farm system could make it less of a priority for them. If Keuchel leaves in free agency, Houston will receive draft-pick compensation for it.