Once draft pick compensation became unattached to the 31-year-old at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday, Keuchel became a hot commodity among pitcher-needy teams. Not long after, the Yankees became favorites to land the left-hander. However, reports circulated soon thereafter that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was unwilling to budge from his original offer of a one-year, $17.9 million deal, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. Now, the Atlanta Braves are the so-called “frontrunners.”
This has become a common theme for the Yankees lately, who did not extend a contract offer to Manny Machado. They also seemed disinterested in Bryce Harper, who expressed a desire to play in New York prior to his free agency. While the Yankees regime of old was known (and often criticized) for “buying championships,” smart money management appears to be the theme in the Bronx nowadays.
The Yankees rotation has battled injuries all season long. Luis Severino, James Paxton, and CC Sabathia have all spent time on the injured list at some point this season (Severino has yet to make an appearance). Domingo German has carried the load, but he’s struggled over his last five outings, pitching to a 5.61 ERA over 25.2 innings pitched with eight home runs allowed.
Even if Keuchel provided depth in the rotation while giving them quality starts, that could be extremely valuable for the Yankees with all of the injuries they’ve faced. If he could pitch like the Keuchel that terrorized the team just a few years ago, his acquisition would put the team in a very strong position to win the World Series. That might be a pipe dream now, as the Braves appear willing to outspend New York.