Ex-Astros P Dallas Keuchel, Braves Agree to 1-Year Contract Worth Reported $13M

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

Houston Astros' Dallas Keuchel pitches during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves and starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel officially agreed to terms on a contract Friday, the club announced on Twitter.

Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown reported Thursday that Keuchel's deal is worth $13 million over one year. 

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

For context: In early March, the Astros offered Keuchel two possible deals -- one year at $15 million, or 2/$24m.

Joel Sherman @Joelsherman1

So #Yankees were willing to go to pro-rated sign bonus, which is about $11M now. So #Braves went higher. Interesting that Keuchel is going directly to AAA, Atlanta must really like what saw in sim games. Keuchel goes back into fr age market after season but can't be offered QO https://t.co/uryJg9syaR

After winning the American League Cy Young Award in 2015 by virtue of a 20-8 record, 2.48 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 216 strikeouts in 232 innings, Keuchel struggled in 2016.

Keuchel followed up his All-Star campaign with a 9-12 record, 4.55 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 168 innings, which marked his worst production since posting a 5.15 ERA in 2013.

That put some pressure on him to perform in 2017, and he bounced back in a big way with a 14-5 mark, 2.90 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 125 strikeouts in 145.2 innings.

Keuchel and the Astros avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $13.2 million deal for 2018, per Spotrac, but that put pressure on Houston to get a long-term deal done during the 2018 season since the player was in the final year of his contract.

The 31-year-old veteran proceeded to go 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 153 strikeouts in 204.2 innings, but the Astros let him test the market and risked potentially losing him in free agency.

Atlanta is banking on the notion that Keuchel's norm is closer to his Cy Young and 2017 form than his 2016 performance.

His showing in 2018 was up and down, but he was still a key piece of Houston's rotation and managed to top 200 innings for the first time since 2018.

Houston is stacked with young, talented hitters, but its starting rotation is largely aging, which means its window of opportunity may not be as big as anticipated. Despite that, the Astros opted to let Keuchel walk, and they are banking on the possibility that the likes of Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers will be able to make up for his absence.

It is difficult to predict how Keuchel will perform from one year to the next, but he is a solid lefty with playoff experience, which should make him an important part of the Braves' rotation for the remainder of the season, as well as their championship hopes.

In Atlanta, Keuchel is joining a young Braves team that is coming off an NL East title and has room to improve in 2019 and beyond.

The Braves already have a talented starting rotation that includes Mike Foltynewicz, Julio Teheran, Kevin Gausman, Max Fried and Mike Soroka, but Keuchel gives them the type of veteran leadership and playoff experience they previously lacked.

With Keuchel in the fold, the Braves have yet another reliable starter and a player who knows what it takes to go all the way and win a World Series.