Astros 6, Yankees 3: another game that can be won escapes
In a season full of injuries, the Yankees received some of their worst news yesterday afternoon. Luis Severino has been closed for six weeks with a strain of Grade II Cans. He was expected to return from the inflammation of the rotator cuff sometime next month. Now Severino is watching a return from mid to late June at the earliest. It is entirely possible that the Yankees are without their ace until the pause of the All-Star Game.
"I do not know if 'relief' is the right word, but a bit like 'Well, now we know what it is', a little relief that it's not going to be a surgery issue." said Aaron Boone to Cole Harvey following last night's game. "Obviously it's going to take a little more time now, but a little comfort in knowing this is what it is, it seems to be treatable." I just have to take some time and hopefully we will get a healthy, strong and fresh Sevy for a good part of the season. "
The Yankees are recovering CC Sabathia this weekend, which will help. It's not the workhorse he was at his best, but the guy he's replacing (Jonathan Loaisiga) has thrown seven innings in two starts, and that could not continue. Domingo German will remain in the rotation for the moment and hopefully J.A. Happ changes things soon. Clearly, the Yankees are missing Severino.
Given Severino's injury, it's natural to wonder if the Yankees will pursue (or should) pursue Dallas Keuchel, still unsigned. He is the best (only, really) opener available in the free agent market and, when he loses a major player for injuries, hiring the best free agent is an easy solution. At least among the fans. Teams tend to think a little differently. We're going to talk to the Yankees and Keuchel, okay?
1. When will it be ready? A good question Ken Rosenthal says that Keuchel is launching simulated games of 95 pitches every five days while waiting to sign, but that does not necessarily mean he is ready for MLB. Gio Gonzalez was launched only this spring, however, when he took the mound with the Yankees last month (and Triple-A Scranton last week), he did not show anything sharp. Keuchel's roll count is up. Being ready for the game is another matter.
It seems that the best possible scenario is for Keuchel to join the rotation after two minor league refinements *. One to go out and face hitters in a competitive environment, and another to fine-tune things and fix what did not feel right the first time. I guess that means Keuchel could join the Yankees at the end of the month? That is pretty good Do not catch it right away, but you get it soon enough and for most of the season.
* Keuchel has a minor league option that remains and can be sent easily. Players at their service time level may reject a minor league badignment and generally do so, but in this case they would be signing knowing they need some minor league starts to catch up. This is exactly what the Orioles and Alex Cobb did last year. He was chosen to go down after signing to begin the tuning.
Having said all this, I'm just making an estimate with two start-up times. It could be one, it could be two, it could be four. Who knows? At this point, whatever team you sign, Keuchel will sign it with the understanding that it will not jump into your rotation immediately. The goal is to have it for most of the season. The more, the better, but if you need three set-up starts instead of two, so be it. Eventually Keuchel will be ready for the game. Maybe before, maybe later.
2. How effective will Keuchel be in the future? Keuchel has been retired from his Cy Young season for four years and, in three seasons and 518.1 innings since then, has an ERA of 3.77 (106 ERA +) and a FIP of 3.78. Last year he had an ERA of 3.74 (108 ERA +) and an FIP of 3.69 in 204.2 innings. That is good. It's not great, but it's good. At the age of 31, it seems that Keuchel's best years are behind him, and now he is more a solid entry guy than a true dominator.
The concern here is that several underlying numbers are tending in the wrong direction. In particular, Keuchel's land ball rate dropped 13 percentage points last year, its pursuit rate dropped four percentage points and its zone rate increased seven percentage points. In its heyday, Keuchel got the hitters to expand the area and establish a weak contact. They did not expand so much last year, so they had to come to the area more often, and the result was a tougher contact.
It seems that the thought that command launchers age better prevails, that it is one of those things that sound true, but do we have any evidence that it is true? The guys like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina were Hall of Famers and we should not expect anyone to age like them. Andy Pettitte? He pitched stronger when he was 41 years old in 2013 (89.8 mph fast ball) than Keuchel when he was 30 years old in 2018 (89.5 mph).
Once the elite dirt ball / a good strike-off pitcher lost both the ground balls and the strikeouts it's a red flag, especially since Keuchel's stuff does not give him much margin for error. He's a five-pitch guy and he's cunning, and he's proven himself in big games, but at age 31 he's pitching as a 36-year-old after losing his stuff. The fact that Keuchel remains unsigned makes me believe that at least some teams are concerned about its long-term effectiveness. There is a definite value in being an average league starter of 180 innings. However, that could be the roof here that goes forward.
3. So, how much will it cost? It hits me This past weekend Ken Rosenthal He reported that Keuchel wants a one-year contract north of the qualified offer of $ 17.9M that he rejected in November, or a multi-year contract with a lower annual salary. The problem is that Rosenthal quoted an executive "under the impression" that those are Keuchel's demands, which does not sound too reliable. Clearly, Keuchel wants more than what the teams are now offering.
Two things to keep in mind here. One, the Yankees have already surpbaded the second luxury tax level of $ 226M. Cot has his luxury tax payroll at $ 226.7M at this time. As an infringer for the first time, your second-tier luxury tax rate is 32%. Indeed, every $ 1 that the Yankees give to Keuchel will cost them $ 1.32 because of the luxury tax. It's real money and it adds up quickly. Possibly I could not care less if the Steinbrenners have to pay more to form a good team. They do care.
And two, Keuchel is attached to the draft selection compensation, which is a cost that should be considered. Because they did not pay luxury taxes or receive revenue sharing last year, the Yankees have to hand in their second highest pick of 2019 and $ 500,000 in 2019-20 international bonuses to sign a qualified free agent. Your second highest selection at this time is the Competitive Balance Selection that you received in the Sonny Gray interchange. The 37th global selection.
Giving up your choice of the second round when you will be the general 60-year selection to sign a qualified free agent is no big deal. Do it every day of the week when you are a winning team now. Waive selection number 37 and approximately $ 2M in bonus voucher money? Hey, that's a harder pill to swallow. The Yankees could wait until after the draft in June to sign Keuchel and stay with the national team. The drawback is that you could sign somewhere else, and you will not get it until the middle of the season and you will miss a lot of openings between now and then.
Usually, I am a player who wins now, so if the Yankees believe that Keuchel can be effective and increase their chances of winning the Eastern League and the World Series, go ahead. Resignation to the selection. The biggest question is the contract. Do you have a one-year contract or do you insist on a multi-year contract? It would be all for a one-year contract. However, giving Keuchel several years does not excite me at all. At this point in your career, there are more disadvantages than advantages.
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Keuchel is the only viable starting pitcher in free agency and I have no doubt that he and agent Scott Boras are waiting for a contending team to suffer an injury and become desperate. That's pretty much where the Yankees are with Severino. He has a new injury and is at least two months back. That is bad news. Even with Sabathia coming back this weekend, one more injury in the rotation would leave the Yankees struggling.
The Yankees had no interest in Keuchel during the winter, they did not connect with him once, which was unusual because they are generally connected to everyone, which I think makes sense. They like their high-impact hitters and that definitely does not describe Keuchel. However, beggars can not choose, and now Keuchel is easily the best starting pitcher available for free. Spend some money (and leave a draft selection) and it's yours, like that.
I suppose the Yankees will stay with Domingo German for the moment, and see what Gio González looks like before his April 20 exclusion. Last night was excellent and there is enough time for Gonzalez to make two more Triple-A starts before the exclusion date. These days, the Yankees have to do first with finding internal solutions, and if those do not work, only then do they leave the organization. I have no reason to believe that it will change, even with the new injury of Severino and Keuchel sitting outside.
Astros 6, Yankees 3: another game that can be won escapes