Dallas Keuchel 'best fit' for Padres, report saysSporting News — (Arthur Weinstein)
Dallas Keuchel is still without a team more than two weeks into the season, but a front-runner for his services may have emerged.
The free-agent pitcher is now reportedly seeking a one-year contract worth more than the $17.9 million qualifying offer he rejected from the Astros. He has been tied in reports to the Padres, Mets and Brewers. But ESPN's Buster Olney reported Sunday that San Diego would be the "best fit" for both sides.
The Padres boast the best record in the NL (11-6) and showed with their massive offseason commitment to Manny Machado they're dedicated to winning now. The Padres reiterated that commitment when they began the season with prized prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. on the big-league roster. If they had left him in Triple-A until April 12, they could have delayed his potential free agency down the road by one season, but they wanted him on the roster to start the season to help the club.
According to the ESPN report, Keuchel could also benefit by pitching in the more spacious parks of the NL West.
As far as the Mets' supposed interest in Keuchel, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Sunday he's happy with the arms the team has now.
"I don't think we operate in the world of temptation," Van Wagenen said (via SNY). "We like the guys we have here. We'll always monitor ways to get better, but we like the guys we have …"
The 31-year-old lefty is throwing 95-pitch simulated games every five days to prepare himself for action.
Keuchel, who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Astros, has a career 76-63 record with a 3.66 ERA. The 2015 Cy Young Award winner has thrown 200 or more innings in three of the last five seasons.