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Report: Keuchel turned down Astros’ $90M extension in 2016

It appears Dallas Keuchel could have avoided becoming a free agent this offseason.

Keuchel rejected a five-year, $90-million extension from the Houston Astros during the 2016 season, sources told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The 2015 Cy Young winner turned down the offer because he didn’t want to look back and see he “left money on the table,” according to Rosenthal. Instead, he pitched the 2016 season under a one-year, $7.25-million deal – a then-record for a first-year arbitration-eligible player – before avoiding arbitration with two more one-year contracts. He earned $29.6 million over the past three seasons.

The lefty was represented by Frontline Athlete Management in 2016 but hired Scott Boras as his agent after the Astros won the 2017 World Series. Keuchel then refused to negotiate a new deal with the Astros during the 2018 season, and the sides didn’t reach an agreement in the spring.

Keuchel struggled with injuries in 2016 and missed significant time the following year. In 2018, he threw over 200 innings for the first time in four years, won his fourth Gold Glove, and posted a league-best 53.7 percent ground-ball rate. His strikeout rate of 6.7 per nine innings represented a drop of one full strikeout from 2017, though, and he surrendered an MLB-leading 211 hits.

Although he’s yet to sign a new deal, Keuchel’s reportedly received interest from a number of teams this winter, including the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals. However, the Phillies and Nationals are both said to be hesitant about giving Keuchel a five-year contract.

Keuchel rejected the Astros’ qualifying offer in November and is thus tied to draft-pick compensation.

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