Reliever Craig Kimbrel and starter Dallas Keuchel are still unsigned, but their odds of finding a home will rise significantly in just a few hours. At midnight EST, they will no longer have draft pick compensation attached to them, a result of receiving and declining qualifying offers during the offseason.
Despite this, teams already have their next batch of excuses lined up. Per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, some teams are unsure the pitchers will be ready to contribute this month. They are also worried based on the past history of players signing at this point in the season and not performing well.
Kimbrel, 31, finished the regular season last year with 42 saves, a 2.74 ERA, and a 96/31 K/BB ratio in 62 1/3 innings. His stock fell when he struggled early in the playoffs, allowing runs in each of his first four appearances. However, he appeared to figure things out, holding the opposition scoreless in his next four appearances in the postseason.
Keuchel, 31, went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA and a 153/58 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings for the Astros in the regular season last year. The lefty’s strikeout rate tumbled but he is still markedly better than a lot of No. 3 and 4 pitchers in rotations to open the season and currently.