One of the under-the-radar aspects of the Anthony Rendon signing is that it gives the LA Angels elite defense at every infield position.
This makes the LA Angels a prime landing spot for free agent starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel even more that it did prior to Rendon signing. Their defense was good before without their newest star, but it goes to an entirely new level now with Tony Two Bags at the hot corner.
Throughout his career, Dallas Keuchel has been the epitome of a ground-ball pitcher. As strikeouts have become more and more valuable for pitchers, Keuchel has induced more and more soft contact. On a team like the Angels, that’s a perfectly fine formula to find success.
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After being shut out of free agency last season and eventually signing with Atlanta in June, Keuchel posted a 3.75 ERA. He showed the elite command he’s had throughout his career, and posted a nearly identical stat line to his 2018 season.
While it’s obvious that signing Keuchel wouldn’t be equivalent to having signed Stephen Strasburg or Gerrit Cole, he can he had at a fraction of the price. Both of those pitchers received overpays (which doesn’t mean the contract wasn’t worth doing), and Keuchel will provide rock solid mid-rotation depth.
The best part about Keuchel is his left-handedness. On days he starts, the defensive impact of Andrelton Simmons and Anthony Rendon playing side by side would be felt by everyone watching, as right-handed hitters have a reputation of pulling ground balls against Keuchel.
The price tag is also likely going to be much lower on Keuchel than other mid-tier starters Hyun-Jin Ryu and Madison Bumgarner. After being pinched out of a multi-year deal last offseason, Keuchel is eyeing a 3-4 year deal. However, Ryu and Bumgarner are likely going to earn excess of $100 million dollars.
Keuchel, on the other hand will likely make somewhere around the 16-18 million dollar range throughout his contract. That’s a much more affordable contract, especially after the Angels cleared themselves of Zack Cozart’s $13 million.
The Angels aren’t done in free agency yet. Signing Anthony Rendon to this contract marks a new era for the Halos. But they’ve made it clear they’re going to upgrade this rotation one way or another, and Keuchel would be a phenomenal start to that project.