The Rangers have signed Dallas Keuchel to a minor league contract, per a team announcement. The 2015 AL Cy Young winner will soon report to Triple-A Round Rock.
Texas becomes the third team of the year to roll the dice on Keuchel. The two-time All-Star began the season with the White Sox, playing out the final campaign of the three-year free agent deal he signed over the 2019-20 offseason. Keuchel had thrived in the first season of that deal, posting a 1.99 ERA through 63 1/3 innings during the shortened campaign. He couldn’t maintain that production over a longer showing the following year, as the veteran southpaw was hit hard for a 5.28 ERA across 162 frames last season.
While the Sox surely hoped that Keuchel could bounce back this year, that hasn’t proven the case. He was tagged for a 7.88 ERA through his first eight starts with the South Siders, posting a matching 12.2% strikeout and walk rate. Chicago released him in late May, and he hit the open market after passing unclaimed through waivers. The Diamondbacks added him on a minor league deal a few days later, and he returned to the majors in the desert by the end of June. Arizona pitching coach Brent Strom had worked closely with Keuchel during his heyday with the Astros, but their second stint together proved brief.
Keuchel made just four starts for the Snakes. He served up 22 runs (20 earned) through 18 2/3 frames, although he did post a respectable 18:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Still, the volume of hard contact he surrendered was enough for Arizona to cut him loose within a few weeks.
There’s no risk for the Rangers in trying their hand at getting Keuchel back on track. The White Sox remain on the hook for his salary, and Texas would be responsible only for the prorated portion of the $700K minimum salary if he makes the majors. Lack of rotation depth has been a problem, with each of Taylor Hearn, Glenn Otto and Spencer Howard posting an ERA of 5.40 or higher. Keuchel adds 11 years of MLB experience and a robust list of career accolades to the upper levels of the organization, although his 2022 results have been worse than those of Hearn and Otto.