With Dallas Keuchel still looking for work, should the San Diego Padres be interested in the left-handed pitcher to help guide some of the youth on the team in 2019 and beyond?
Slowly, but surely the San Diego Padres are becoming a team of relevance in a complicated NL West.
Manny Machado provides the Friars an instant superstar, at a time where the fan base craves a player to rally around. The third baseman, playing in San Diego for the next 10 years is something fans of the Padres can take comfort in. Machado is one thing, but the development of the youth is what is really exciting for the city of San Diego.
The Padres have a very young team which will require a veteran presence sooner or later. Eric Hosmer, Ian Kinsler, Greg Garcia, and Manny Machado work very hard at their craft. There is a reason they have been in the game for so long. Position players will learn and absorb their behaviors which is only going to benefit the Padres in the long run.
In the bullpen, young pitchers like Jose Castillo, Brad Wieck, Trey Wingenter, Robert Stock, and Phil Maton have Craig Stammen and Kirby Yates to answer any questions they may have about the game. It’s not a coincidence that both the veterans lockers are positioned on one side of the Peoria locker room, with all the young pitchers’ lockers surrounding them. The Padres want these young hurlers to absorb what it takes to succeed.
At this point in the time, the 2019 rotation looks to be made up of players who have one or two years of major league experience or less. Chris Paddack, Logan Allen, and Cal Quantrill are all close to making the major league team and beyond them are boatloads of more pitching prospects. Adding a veteran pitcher to this mix who can both eat innings and serve as a role model for the future is a positive thing.
Dallas Keuchel is that man. Or is he?
Sign Keuchel, help mentor the youth
Clayton Richard really helped the development of Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer in 2018. He took them under his wing and the duo responded with quality efforts in their first go-around at the major league level. The San Diego Padres could use another pitcher like Richard, to help polish their young starting pitchers. Ant new information is helpful to these men. Pitchers sometimes relate better with veteran players as opposed to a coach.
Dallas Keuchel is known to be a very hard worker. In this day and age of hard throwers, Keuchel is not one. He relies on pitching and the art of it. Young hurlers would learn much from this veteran lefty. He does not blow hitters away and that in itself leads people to believe he should have success well into his 30’s. The sinkerballer fits the defensive-minded infield the Padres have currently constructed. With his price dropping, he has the ability to outpitch his contract’s worth.
Too much money… let the kids pitch
Keuchel may be helpful for the youth, but he probably will never repeat his 2015 season in which he won an AL Cy Young award. Sure, he might eat innings, but the reality is that he will take innings away from pitchers like Jacob Nix. The Padres need to evaluate all their young arms that are approaching the major league level. A veteran like Keuchel would provide leadership, but worthy pitchers might fall through the cracks if the Padres do not evaluate them properly.
Whatever the dollar figure for Keuchel, it will not break the bank. After handing out $300 million to Machado, Keuchel’s contract demands must seem minuscule. At the same time, the Padres cannot afford to get too frisky with their spending. They must still penny-pinch when they can in an effort to save money. All of these hot talent lava prospects will require contracts down the line. Things could get complicated in retaining them all and every dollar may be the difference. Investing four or five years into Keuchel is very risky.
In the end, it will come down to dollars and cents for the Friars. Can the Padres secure the veteran at a price they like and would Keuchel take a discount to be a part of a team that has a very bright future? A two or three-year deal in the $35-50 million dollar range is suitable for the Padres, but they would need to be comfortable with Keuchel and that kind of investment. Then there is the fact signing him will cost the Padres a draft selection in June. There has been some talk of the Padres evaluating Keuchel as a possible fit, but little has been said in regards to their assessment. They could be waiting until his price drops within range. As we get closer and closer to the start of the season, Dallas Keuchel must surely be getting antsy. A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres are on the prowl. Will they take the leap?