5 former MLB All-Stars who could use a change of scenery

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 12: Eric Hosmer #30 of the San Diego Padres removes his batting gloves after flying out to center field against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on August 12, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 12: Eric Hosmer #30 of the San Diego Padres removes his batting gloves after flying out to center field against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on August 12, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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Umpire and manager talking
Umpire Tom Hallion (20) talks to Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

#5: Dallas Keuchel of the Chicago White Sox

Before the 2020 season, Chicago going out and signing Dallas Keuchel looked like a solid move to solidify its rotation. Based on his past, he looked like he would at least be an average starter for them.

And he was great in 2020, performing much better than that and even with expected numbers being higher, they were still that of an average starter which was positive for the Sox. Last season was a different story, however, as he was one of the worst starters in baseball, having the second-worst ERA amongst qualified pitchers (with Patrick Corbin having the worst).

Theoretically this could be Keuchel’s last year on the books at $18 million, but he does have a vesting option for 2023 of $20 million if he pitches more than 160 innings this season. His main problem in 2021 was limiting barrels, a combination of a high hard hit rate as well as prime launch angles, tying him for the 15th-highest barrels per plate appearance. All of which leading to the highest HR/9 since his rookie season at 1.39.

His command seems to be the biggest problem , affecting all of his pitches, but mainly the changeup, which has been his best pitch over his career. Technically, it performed pretty well last season, but expected numbers say it should have performed much worse. His sinker looks to be located in a similar position to 2020, but his changeup and cutter caught a lot more of the zone.

In 2020, the cutter was positioned on the bottom left of the zone and the changeup on the bottom right, missing the zone completely on a regular basis. This is a perfect spot for a changeup as it deceives the hitter into thinking it is in the zone only to drop out of reach.

Improving his command and refining the locations of his pitches is what will bring him back to being at least an average pitcher, if not better. I am not sure the White Sox will want to wait around to see if he improves or not though as they are looking to contend now.

While losing Keuchel could affect their rotation, there is a chance he does not improve. If that is the case, they could either acquire a starter in return or fill his spot from within. That could be done with prospects like Jimmy Lambert or Jonathan Stiever, who I imagine could play as well as he did in 2021 or potentially better, but could at least hold them until the trade deadline.

Some teams I feel could move for Dallas are the Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, and Seattle Mariners.

Kansas City, as I outlined in a recent video here, look to be one of the best rebuilding teams in baseball. Making a high risk-high reward move to acquire a former Cy Young pitcher to return him back to his winning ways could help propel this team further and do it faster. I believe Chicago would want pitching compensation in return to fill Keuchel’s spot, so getting Mike Minor as an average pitcher who makes far less money and only has a team option for 2023 could be enough compensation. If the Royals can’t fully return him to form, then he would still be a good veteran from which Kansas City’s young pitchers can learn.

As I outlined in the Patrick Corbin section, Texas needs starting pitching and taking a flier on Keuchel could significantly help the rotation if he makes the necessary adjustments. An MLB-ready pitcher they could get is Kolby Allard. He showed himself well as a reliever last season and, if he can figure out what made him successful there, he could attempt it as a starter. If he doesn’t work out, they could exchange roles between him and Garrett Crochet.

The Mariners are an interesting option here as they need pitching, but also need spots for their prospects coming up relatively soon. I could see them taking on Keuchel in one of two ways. For one, they want to see if he can get back to his top end pitching level which they could either flip later or have as part of the rotation for one more season in 2023. Or two, they use it to trade Marco Gonzales, who is cheap but has been very inconsistent over his career and they do have to pay for the next two seasons at $6 and $12 million.

Next. Ranking the 12 winningest teams in MLB history. dark

The wild option here is the Los Angeles Angels. I don’t know if they would want to take on that kind of money without getting some off the books first with Upton, but they could be willing to take a chance if it gets them a quality starter. They signed Michael Lorenzen to be a starter, but if they can have someone with more experience and frankly just a better pedigree, that might work better but if not they would Lorenzen as a starter waiting in the wings or another guy like Reid Detmers.