Cincinnati Reds: Avoid Dallas Keuchel’s request for a five-year deal

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros reacts in the third inning as a play is reviewed against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 16, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros reacts in the third inning as a play is reviewed against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 16, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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All reports say that Dallas Keuchel is looking for a five-year contract. The Cincinnati Reds should steer clear of the left-hander’s request.

The Cincinnati Reds haven’t been a big player in the Dallas Keuchel sweepstakes. His name has been linked to the team several times, but it never appears that the Reds are considered a serious contender. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Philadelphia Phillies are unwilling to meet Keuchel’s request for a five-year deal. The Reds should follow suit and avoid the temptation of a long-term deal with Keuchel.

While I’d love to see Keuchel in Cincinnati, a five-year deal seems a bit too steep for the Cincinnati Reds, especially after just getting out from under Homer Bailey‘s disaster of a contract. I know that quality starting pitching is going to cost a lot of money, but I don’t think the Reds are in a position to dole out that kind of cash, even for the former Cy Young Award winner’s services.

Keuchel is a phenomenal talent. He’s a two-time All-Star, four-time Glove Glove winner, and won the American League Cy Young Award in 2015. Keuchel, over his last four seasons with the Houston Astros, has averaged 14 wins, 160 strikeouts, and 51 walks. By comparison, Homer Bailey averaged 10 wins, 149 strikeouts, and 46 walks from 2011-2014.

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Bailey signed a 5-year/$105-million contract after the 2014 season. We all know what happened after that. Injuries torpedoed what was a solid career to that point. Bailey, over his final four seasons in Cincinnati, pitched in only 46 games and had a cumulative ERA of 6.25 from 2015-2018.

Now, I’m not saying that Dallas Keuchel will follow the same path as Homer. However, the thought of signing a 31-year-old pitcher to a long-term deal that could hamstring the franchise for years to come should things go South gives me cause to pause. A better approach, in my opinion, would be for the Cincinnati Reds to make a trade for either Corey Kluber or Marcus Stroman.

Kluber, who will turn 33 next season, is under contract through next season and has a $17.5M option for the 2020 season and an $18M option for the 2021 season. Stroman is under team control for the next two seasons. After making $6.5M last season, Stroman is expected to make in the neighborhood of $7.2M next season.

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It’s possible that the Cincinnati Reds could still pursue Keuchel, but his desire for a five-year contract makes the idea of bringing the lefty to the Queen City much less likely in my opinion. The Reds are still looking to add to their rotation, but might be best served to acquire another starter via trade rather than through the free agent market.