The Houston Astros are currently riding a tremendous high as they sit atop the AL West and the possibility of them getting to the postseason is getting closer to becoming a reality. Their team is comprised of several young talented players. Unsurprisingly the team is considering locking up some of their young talent as soon as possible. One piece the Astros have discussed locking up long-term is ace lefty Dallas Keuchel as reported by Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
The southpaw is in the middle of another brilliant season as he has tossed 178.2 innings of 2.37 ERA with a 7.9 SO/9 ratio and 63.1 ground ball rate so far this season. He has emerged as the unquestioned ace of the team and is leading the team’s rotation during this postseason push. He is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.
The left-hander himself has publicly said he is mutually interested in signing a long-term deal, according to Drellich,
“[Houston] is all I’ve known, and it’s where I want to be. I know we’re in a great position for the next probably five, 10 years… it’s all about winning. Me personally, it’s not about the dollar amount. … With that being said, it’s got to be something that’s fair and that’s right for both parties. I’m not trying to break the bank. I’m just out here to have fun and pitch and do the best I can.”
The comments above suggest that Keuchel may be willing to offer a discount to the small-market Astros team. If he is willing to accept a deal that doesn’t cripple the team’s financial flexibility in the coming years, that could go a long way in helping the team continue their newfound success. Locking up Keuchel is in the Astros’ best interest as he has proven he is no fluke and is also extremely durable as his injury history is non-existent. The Astros could decide to sign him to a short-term extension that buys out his remaining arbitration years but would still allow him to hit the free market on schedule. An extension in the coming weeks seems unlikely as it would probably be a distraction to a focused club that is trying to make the playoffs but talks will probably heat up once the offseason begins so it can be expected a deal will possibly be reached between the two sides.