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Mariners To Sign Dallas Keuchel To Minor League Deal

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The Mariners are signing left-hander Dallas Keuchel to a minor league deal, per Daniel Kramer of MLB.com. The WME Baseball client will report to Triple-A Tacoma when the deal is complete.

Keuchel, 36, was once one of the best pitchers in the league, even winning the American League Cy Young in 2015. But he has been more in journeyman mode over the past three years. He made 175 starts from 2014 to 2020 with an earned run average of 3.25 over that stretch. His 19.8% strikeout rate in that time wasn’t special, but he limited walks to a 6.7% clip and got grounders on 59.6% of balls in play. That grounder rate was the highest in all of baseball, among those with at least 450 innings pitched in that time period.

His rate stats began to trend in the wrong direction in 2021, as his ERA jumped to 5.28. In 2022, things got even worse and he was released by the White Sox, later bouncing to the Diamondbacks and and Rangers for brief stints. He finished that year with a ghastly ERA of 9.20 in 60 2/3 innings. His ground ball rate fell to 50.2%, still strong but well below his previous levels. He only struck out 14.9% of batters faced and gave out walks at a 10.2% clip.

Last year, he worked out with Driveline Baseball in an attempt to regain some lost velocity and movement on his pitches, eventually landing a minor league deal with the Twins in June. He tossed 32 innings at the Triple-A level with a 1.13 ERA, 21.2% strikeout rate, 9.1% walk rate and 61.5% ground ball rate. That ERA was a mirage as he wasn’t going to maintain a 95% strand rate but his 4.17 FIP was still an improvement over the form he showed in the previous year.

The Twins added him to the big league roster at the start of August and he tossed 37 2/3 innings down the stretch in a swing role but his work wasn’t as impressive in the bigs, as he posted a 5.97 ERA in that time. His 14.5% strikeout rate, 10.5% walk rate and 52.8% ground ball rate were all fairly close to his 2022 numbers.

The Seattle rotation recently took a hit when Bryan Woo landed on the injured list due to some elbow inflammation. They still have a strong group of five guys with Luis Castillo, George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, Bryce Miller and Emerson Hancock in the rotation, but Keuchel will give them some extra depth. He will presumably need a few weeks to get into game shape anyway after missing Spring Training and the rotation picture could easily change between now and then.

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