Pittsburgh Pirates: What would the Draft Cost be for Dallas Keuchel?


The Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation has been dealing with injuries all season.  With a decent start to the year, many want them to sign a former ace.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have exhausted many of their options up until this point.  The team has had to deal with several injuries to their starting pitching over the last month.  It started with Chris Archer going on the Injured List and now both Trevor Williams and Jameson Taillon find themselves on it as well.  Taillon very well could be out until after the MLB All-Star Game while Williams will be out least two more starts.

With that being said, many have called out for the Pittsburgh Pirates to get aggressive and sign Dallas Keuchel.  With no team really running away with the National League Central and the Bucs hanging around .500, many feel that bringing in Keuchel could give the Bucs a much-needed boost.

This is 100 percent correct.  The Pittsburgh Pirates need starting pitching help more than anything.  Their depth has been tested and it has failed.  The team has tried openers, they have tried giving starts to Nick Kingham and Steven Brault, and even top pitching prospect Mitch Keller.  The opener strategy blew up in their face last time it was used, while Kingham and Brault continue their inconsistencies.  Keller had a tough first inning yesterday but settled down nicely.  Still, it does not seem the organization is ready to give him a spot in the rotation.

So yes, signing the former American League CY Young Award winner could really boost this team.  Apparently, his asking price has dropped as well.  Going into the offseason it was expected Keuchel would get somewhere between four-to-six years and in the ballpark of $20 million per season.  Now, the veteran lefty is supposedly looking for a one year deal that is prorated for the missed time.  So a team could get him for around $12-14 million dollars at this point.

More from Rum Bunter

If it were only that simple.  Dallas Keuchel was given a Qualifying Offer from the Houston Astros entering this past offseason.  What this means is that the Astros gave him a one-year deal that was worth around $18 million dollars.  Thinking he would get more than that on the open market, Keuchel turned down the offer.  If Keuchel is signed the Astros receive a compensation pick.

Now any team that signs him must give up their third highest draft pick in the upcoming MLB Draft on June 3rd.  This could mean different things depending on the team, but for the Bucs, they would have to forfeit their second round pick, number 57 overall. The Bucs have two picks at number 18 and number 37 before their second-round pick.  In years earlier the team would have had to forfeit their first overall pick.

The pro for this is the Bucs would still have two picks before they would lose one, so the team would still have a total of three picks on day one (they also have pick number 72).  The con is that some teams would have to forfeit their third round pick instead if they do not have multiple picks like the Pittsburgh Pirates.  So should the Bucs give up a top 60 pick and a chance at bringing in another top prospect?  Or should they bring in Keuchel and hope he can stabilize their rotation and help them make a push for a playoff spot?

Well, there is one more layer that affects the chances of this happening.  While it is easy to say that it is just one pick that the Bucs would have to forfeit, there is more to it than just the pick.  The Pirates would also give up a large chunk of their draft bonus pool.  Each pick in the draft is given a certain value, and thus the teams are given a certain amount of money that they are allowed to spend on the draft based on the values of their picks.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have an overall bonus pool amount of $9,944,000.  The 57th overall pick makes up $1,243,600 of the total budget, which works out to 13 percent of the team’s total draft pool.  While that does not sound like much, it actually could hurt the Pirates a lot.  Over the past few years, the Bucs and several other teams have learned how to get creative with their draft capital.

The team takes certain players in certain spots to help save money on their overall draft budget. They then take this saved money and give it to tougher to sign prospects; such as prep kids who have strong college commitments, prospects who may have slid down the board, or players recovering from injuries and find themselves somewhat undervalued.

The team has notoriously saved money to give to players they draft in the 11th round, which is normally a spot where a lot of high upside prep players fall too.  They did this just last year when they paid prep pitcher Michael Burrows a $500,000 bonus, normally 11th round players do not get much more than $100,000.

While signing Dallas Keuchel makes a lot of sense for the Pittsburgh Pirates this year, it may not make sense for them in the long run.  The Pittsburgh Pirates being a smaller market team place a lot of importance on the MLB Draft as it is the best way for them to find high upside players.  For the Bucs to not only forfeit a top 60 pick, but also limit their overall Draft Pool may not be in the best interest of the big league club.

Next. Keller Should Get Another Start. dark

Also, let’s be honest, Dallas Keuchel will have plenty of suitors once the draft is over and teams do not have to forfeit a pick.  He likely will end up getting more money by waiting than he would by signing now. So he will likely wait until after the draft to sign anyhow.