Chicago White Sox: Dallas Keuchel should have role in 2022
The Chicago White Sox should not give up on Dallas Keuchel for 2022. While his role on the team will have to be redefined, the left-hander should be given another opportunity to make a contribution to the pitching staff.
Keuchel will have little trade value after his poor season (9-9, 5.28 ERA, 95 strikeouts, 1.53 WHIP), and the White Sox are responsible for $18 million next season and a $20 million team option in 2023 with a $1.5 million buyout.
It is possible Chicago will shop Keuchel for a better player in a trade or just release him. But the best move would be giving Keuchel another opportunity at the back end of the White Sox starting rotation.
Three of the five starting spots are secured in Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Dylan Cease. The other two spots are up for grabs. Carlos Rodon could be gone as a free agent. Michael Kopech or Garrett Crochet could be stretched out as starters but as of now, that has not been determined.
The Chicago White Sox could really use a bounce-back season from Dallas Keuchel.
Keuchel provides left-handed balance in the rotation, backup in case of injuries, and veteran experience. The oddity of the 60-game 2020 season threw off many pitchers in 2021 and Keuchel could be due for a bounce-back season.
Keuchel’s days as a top-of-the-rotation starter are gone but providing depth and balance in the starting rotation are very possible. It is up to Keuchel and Chicago White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz to work on the issues that caused the former Cy Young Winner to be left off the playoff roster.
Keuchel was signed by the White Sox to provide leadership and victories as a ground-ball pitcher that needs to be precise in location to be effective. The expectations might be lowered next season but Keuchel still could be a useful piece in 2022 as Chicago chases a World Series title.
If he is able to regain some of that magic that he once had, they will be happy with him and the rest of his contract. It is up to him and the team to handle the offseason the right way so that he can be ready for a bounceback season in 2022.