New York Yankees

Are the Yankees leading the race to sign Dallas Keuchel?

The Yankees are clearly keeping close tabs on the status of Dallas Keuchel, but do they actually lead the race to sign the talented free agent?

Dallas Keuchel is the best starting pitcher on the free agent market and the Yankees rotation is a little bit unsettled. That’s led to a prolific breeding ground for rumors connecting New York with the talented southpaw.

Evidently, there’s plenty of smoke behind the fire connecting Keuchel with the Yankees. Any Martino of the SNY Network has gone on record as saying that New York “is one of the front-runners” for the former Astros star. He stresses that no deal is imminent, but it’s clear that general manager Brian Cashman has more than a cursory interest in Keuchel.

Manager Aaron Boone has done a solid job of piecing his starting rotation together despite the fact that Luis Severino has missed the entire season due to injury. More recently, an injury to James Paxton forced the second-year manager to rely on the bullpen to serve as openers in the absence of Big Maple.

The real reason the Yankees need to acquire another starting pitcher is the uncertainty regarding Domingo German’s ability to handle a full workload. He’s never thrown more than 85.2 innings in a Major League season. He’s already pitched 60.1 innings in his 11 appearances this season. At some point the Yankees will be forced to move German to the bullpen or shut him down to preserve his arm for the future.

The biggest question Cashman and company need to answer is whether or not Keuchel will be worth the massive salary he’s still asking for. According to Buster Olney, he’s still looking for $18 million for any team that wants to add him to their rotation. Even a team with the financial might of the Yankees is going to pause at handing out that kind of contract to a pitcher who might only contribute for half of the regular season.

The alternative to Keuchel might prove even more costly to the team in the long haul. Swinging a trade for a big-name pitcher like Madison Bumgarner might cost Cashman less money, but it will require the Yankees to give up multiple talented prospects to complete a deal. That’s something the organization would certainly like to avoid.

Next: Is Dallas Keuchel the starter the Yankees need?

Look for the Yankees to continue to be prominently linked to Keuchel until he finally signs with a team. Cashman and company are going to be in the race to sign him until another team makes an offer they aren’t willing to match.

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