MLB free agency was wild this past offseason. Unless you were a sure-thing, you probably sat around a lot longer than expected and did not receive the money players had in the past. Two pitchers, in particular, suffered from extremely long layoffs into the season because of it – Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. Compensatory draft picks had two World Series champions, one being the most electric closer of this generation and one is a former Cy Young Award winner, cast off like lepers.
At the end of the day, Kimbrel received the multi-year deal he held out for, but Keuchel had to settle for a one-year, prove-it contract with the Braves. Well, he’s doing an excellent job of letting the world know what he’s capable of. After shaking off the cobwebs, Keuchel is 5-0 in his last six starts with an ERA below one, leading a Braves pitching staff that has become one of the best in baseball – a primary reason as to how they have managed to run away with the NL East.
Following his six-inning performance of one-run baseball on Wednesday night, Keuchel was asked if there was any motivation when facing a team that clearly needed a starting pitcher but did not want to take a chance on him, and his response was golden.
— Dave Uram (@MrUram) September 12, 2019
While I don’t think Keuchel is too worried about it now and is happy in the position he is in, there’s no questioning he’s relishing the opportunity to mock those who doubted he could be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher any longer or did not want to take a chance on him because of his age. The Phillies are a prime example of that. They spent millions on top of millions this offseason, needed a starting pitcher, but never came calling on a talent like Dallas Keuchel. One player doesn’t make the difference in this division, but the former Houston Astro has undoubtedly helped the Braves widen the gap between their rivals and could be even more influential in the postseason.