The Rays have a hole in their starting rotation with Tyler Glasnow out four to six weeks after he suffered a mild right forearm strain.
Glasnow is third in WAR among pitchers (1.8), per FanGraphs. He had a 1.86 ERA and 2.20 FIP through his first eight starts.
Tampa Bay leads the American League East by 0.5 games, so replacing Glasnow with a proven veteran makes sense. The question is whether the urgency to bolster its pitching staff overrides the benefit of waiting to sign Keuchel until after the 2019 MLB draft.
MLB Trade Rumors' Jeff Todd noted the draft-pick compensation attached to both Keuchel and free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel will be nullified starting on the day of the draft (June 3).
Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN
Re: the unsigned Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel -- 197 days have passed since the end of last year's World Series, and the start of the free agency period. If the two wait another 21 days, for the start of the amateur draft, they'll no longer be tied to draft-pick compensation.
The need to add another starter is obvious for Tampa Bay. However, Keuchel will likely need some time before he's ready to make his 2019 debut. He missed all of spring training, and no amount of simulated games can truly replicate the regular-season setting.
Keuchel's contract demands will be another matter. The left-hander told Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown he's not willing to take a discount in order to sign with a team:
"Why succumb to teams that think you're needy and you’re willing to accept a lesser offer than your market value? It's all relative. If you're at work and you're killing your job, nine to five every day, and you get another offer that's less, why would you accept that offer?
"This is not a me thing. This is for the greater good of baseball. This is for principle."
Keuchel to the Rays makes sense in theory, but the two sides must clear some hurdles before they finalize any contract.