The Toronto Blue Jays have some room to fill out their rotation, and seem to be at least considering making a big splash in free agency.
The move appears unlikely given the money it would take to land Keuchel, the AL Cy Young winner in 2015. Ben Nicholson-Smith speculated on The Starting Lineup – see the video attached to this post – earlier this past week that Toronto is more likely to spread its cash around on relief pitchers with less pedigree than spend the $20 million-plus it would take to acquire Keuchel.
The 30-year-old lefty pitched to a 3.74 ERA in 204.2 innings this past season, averaging 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
Heyman had earlier wrote that the Cincinnati Reds were “all over” Keuchel, who is sure to draw interest from many clubs around MLB. The Houston Astros, with whom Keuchel has spent his entire seven-year career, were also not ruled out as a landing spot for the free agent.
Here are some more rumours worth keeping an eye on…
10 teams looking at Happ
There are at least 10 teams looking at veteran lefty J.A. Happ, with an anonymous source telling Heyman that it’ll take three years to sign the 36-year-old.
Happ spent the past season with the Blue Jays and New York Yankees, pitching 177.2 innings and finishing the year with a 3.65 ERA. It was also the year he made his first-ever all-star game.
The Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Yankees and Blue Jays were all named by Heyman as having interest.
Eovaldi suitors making themselves heard
Starting pitching is all the rumour rage these days, with the market for Nathan Eovaldi beginning to pick up, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
The Boston Red Sox acquired Eovaldi late last July and are believed to be among the top contenders (along with Houston) to land his services.
The flamethrowing righty had a 8.2 SO/9 rate this past season, along with a 112 ERA+ in 111 innings, split with Boston and Tampa Bay.
The Astros are of course on the verge of losing Keuchel and Charlie Morton to free agency, and have lost Lance McCullers to Tommy John surgery for 2019.
Yankees keen on moving Gray
It seems highly unlikely that Sonny Gray will be a Yankee this coming season.
The team is pushing hard to trade the right-hander, with GM Brian Cashman telling the New York Post in October that “it would be more likely best [for him to be] somewhere else.”
Our latest update also comes from the Post, which is reporting that 11 teams have interest in Gray, who had a rough first full season in New York.
The 29-year-old had a 4.90 ERA in 30 games (23 of which were starts), pitching 130.1 innings.
MLBTradeRumors.com projects Gray to be awarded $9.1 million in arbitration for this coming season.
Cleveland could deal big-name starter
Lastly, from Heyman, the Cleveland Indians have been rumoured to have made a starter available.
The team could dangle Carlos Carrasco or Corey Kluber, but Heyman believes Trevor Bauer would be the one to go, given his contract status.
Bauer, who finished sixth in Cy Young voting this past season, is arbitration eligible in this and the next off-season.
The 27-year-old has said in the past that he will only sign one-year contracts for the rest of his career.
The No. 3 pick of the 2011 MLB Draft was second in the AL in ERA this past season (2.21), and fifth in WAR among AL pitchers according to Baseball-Reference.