The White Sox moved on from Dallas Keuchel today after the 34-year-old left-hander struggled again to start this season. Following a terrible second half of last season, Keuchel was left off the 2021 postseason roster, and rightfully so. During the beginning of the 2022 season, Keuchel posted a 7.88 earned run average and a 6.20 fielding independent pitching over eight starts. In a corresponding move, Danny Mendick was recalled from Charlotte.
The Sox signed the veteran left-hander to a three-year contract worth 55.5 million dollars before the 2020 season. Keuchel was great in his first season with the White Sox posting a 1.99 ERA and a 3.08 FIP over 63.1 innings pitched during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, helping the Sox reach the postseason a year earlier than many had predicted. While Keuchel had consistently posted a WHIP between 1.000 and 1.500 during his career, his WHIP had ballooned to an awful 2.156 this season.
Keuchel came to the Sox as an American League Cy Young Award winner and was supposed to be the veteran leader of a group of young and rising stars. He was to serve as the anchor among the pitching staff featuring Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, and Dylan Cease. While the first season of his career with the Sox was a solid one, everything has been in a tailspin for Keuchel since. With the addition of Lance Lynn to the rotation and the rise of Cease, Keuchel found himself as the fifth or possibly sixth starter in a very good rotation.
During a very rough patch of baseball for the Sox this season Keuchel started a game in Cleveland where he would surrender ten runs in the first two innings of baseball. Granted, the defense failed Keuchel on four separate occasions during those two innings but making a bad situation worse Keuchel made the following comments after the game. “Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you really haven’t. While that could be misinterpreted as a negative comment towards his defense, Keuchel did not stop there. The veteran went on to explain “I’ll take nine singles and a blast,” Keuchel said. “Three hard hit balls all day. First pitch swings, ground balls, I mean, really all I wanted.” Excuse me? You will take nine singles and a blast? In any game with zero errors and solid defense, giving up nine singles and a blast is in every way getting hammered. Keuchel consistently told Chicago media members he was close to turning it around and seemed comfortable with placing the blame elsewhere when he failed to do so.
Moving on from Keuchel is addition by subtraction for a struggling White Sox team. Every fifth day was dreaded by fans all over Chicago and Keuchel seemed to be a negative in the clubhouse as well with negative comments about the team’s effort and performance. While the offense is struggling and the defense is shaky at times, the last thing they need is a pitcher with a five plus ERA telling them what they are doing wrong. Particularly a high paid starter. Things should relax in the clubhouse, and everyone could possibly begin to focus on playing better baseball in every aspect of the game. In no way is everything negative about the Sox slow start on Dallas Keuchel but this could serve as a wake-up call for everyone to get their act together.
Shockingly, the White Sox showed the willingness to eat the remainder of Keuchel’s contract including roughly 18 million dollars for this season plus a 1.5-million-dollar buyout. Lance Lynn is close to returning for the White Sox so the spot in the rotation voided by this move should be filled rather quickly without adding a pitcher from outside the club. Keuchel will undoubtedly catch on somewhere and pitch in the major leagues again very soon, but it will thankfully no longer be with the White Sox.
Shaking things up is a good thing for the White Sox and hopefully they are not done. Something like this makes sense but we will see how far the Sox are willing to go.
While Ryan Burr and Kyle Crick may not set the world on fire, Yolbert Sanchez deserves a shot. The lack of production from the second base options of Josh Harrison and Leury Garcia should be addressed sooner rather than later. Sanchez may not be the answer but what do the Sox have to lose by bringing him up and giving him a shot? I wrote about this recently if you are interested in learning more about this possibility. You can find that article here. It’s Time for the White Sox To Call Up Yolbert Sánchez – Overtime Heroics.
It was time for the White Sox to cut their losses with Keuchel and they have done just that. Watching Keuchel pitch has been depressing and Sox fans were united in the idea of cutting bait with Keuchel. It was an overdue move from an organization who historically struggles with surrendering money to players who are no longer on the field. Great move White Sox. Now go sweep the Cubs.
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