Atlanta Braves rumors: Wish list includes Dallas Keuchel and apparently a lot of others
By Fred Owens
The Atlanta Braves are interested in Keuchel
Saturday, Nick Cafardo mentions the Braves and Keuchel in passing after the meat of his Saturday post under the heading, ’Updates on nine.”
"5. Dallas Keuchel, LHP, free agent — Keuchel, according to our executive sources, will be the third-most popular . . . (free agent pitcher) behind Patrick Corbin and Eovaldi. . . could be a target of . . . the Brewers, Reds, Cardinals, and Rangers. The Braves, looking for a veteran leader, also have Keuchel high on their wish list."
Cafardo doesn’t call it a rumor or even speculation from his sources; he just throws it out there as a fact without context. Perhaps because they were tired of using Corey Kluber and felt Keuchel would draw more click-throughs. MLBTR called Cafardo’s throwaway line a rumor, and suddenly it’s a thing.
Keuchel wasn’t the first name pitcher linker loosely with the Atlanta Braves in Cafardo’s post. He went through a series of pitchers and their relationship to a future in an Atlanta Braves uniform next season.
"2. Corey Kluber, RHP, Indians — Probably the most solid pitcher available . . . Imagine what Kluber could mean to that young Braves staff."
"3. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets — . . . Watch out for the Astros and Braves here, as well. (My note: All other teams are officially warned to watch out for the Braves.)"
"7. Craig Kimbrel, RHP, free agent — . . . Kimbrel is seeking a six-year deal. Not sure who would give him that, unless it’s a team such as Atlanta, which is trying to bring back popular players . . . (My Note: I must have missed Alex Anthopoulos’ saying he’s bringing back popular players.)"
Ben gave us an in-depth look at Keuchel last week but didn’t say yea or nay so let’s take a fresh look.
The change that made Keuchel a winner
According to Astroball, after getting shelled towards the end of 2013 Keuchel wanted to go home and hide. He always wanted to be Tom Glavine 2.0, but knew he needed to do things differently.
Instead of hiding, Keuchel spent the 2013-14 offseason diving into the analytics Mike Fast and his crew produced in the Astros’ “Nerd Cave.”
He spent hours each day poring over video and scouting reports to the point where he could position his infielders more precisely that even his managers and coaches could.
In 2014 his work paid off. Keuchel’s ERA fell from 5.15 to 2.98. In 2015 it dropped to 2.48 with a FIP of 2.91. Aside from his injury-shortened 2016, he’s been putting his pitches where he wanted then since his deep dive into metrics.