As we push for the Cubs to pursue Craig Kimbrel as soon as the clock strikes midnight tonight and he’s uncoupled from draft pick compensation, it’s important to note that there’s another significant free agent in the same situation, and he’s at least as likely to impact the NL Central race: Dallas Keuchel.
Both the Cardinals and Brewers have been mentioned as possible suitors for the 31-year-old lefty starter, and I would suggest a couple injuries in the Brewers rotation just ratcheted up their likely pursuit:
RHP Jacob Barnes and RHP Taylor Williams have been recalled from Triple-A San Antonio. RHP Jhoulys Chacín (lower back strain) has been placed on the 10-day injured list and C Jacob Nottingham has been optioned to San Antonio. pic.twitter.com/hH6s3lmWku
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) June 2, 2019
C Manny Piña (right hamstring) has been reinstated from the 10-day injured list and LHP Gio Gonzalez (left arm) has been placed on the 10-day injured list. RHP Zach Davies will start Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/5L0SrF4Apq
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) June 1, 2019
Amid a flurry of moves, that’s Jhoulys Chacin and Gio Gonzalez both heading to the Injured List, the Brewers will be calling back up long-rehabbing starter Jimmy Nelson to start this week. The 30-year-old righty hasn’t started in the big leagues since 2017, and only just started pitching in AAA games earlier this year after shoulder surgery. His results have been mixed, and you never know what you’re going to get after shoulder surgery and rehab, but his upside is obviously significant based on his breakout in 2017.
That said, the Brewers were already tied to Keuchel, and you’ve gotta believe the injuries to Chacin and Gonzalez (and the extreme ineffectiveness of Chacin in any case) could have them feeling all the more inspired to make a run at Keuchel, who is reportedly open to a one-year deal.
Of course, even if the Brewers very much want Keuchel – just as with the Cubs and Kimbrel – there are a number of pitching-needy teams that have no doubt been waiting for tonight to make a serious proposal.
It’s a weird mini free agency season, and it opens at midnight. Tick tock.