Last February, an unexpected player came to Hanwha’s Arizona camp and attracted the players’ attention. As news spread that these players had visited the stadium, even Hanwha pitchers who had finished practice went back to the field with their cell phones and began recording their pitches on video.
The main characters were Jack Greinke (40, Kansas City) and Dallas Keuchel (35, Minnesota), both major league Cy Young Award winners. Major League spring training usually begins in mid-February. Unlike KBO league players, who start camp on February 1 and undergo technical and physical training for about 15 days, major league players already prepare their bodies before the start of camp. That way, after training for a week or so, you can immediately start the exhibition game schedule.
Greinke and Keuchel were also in the process of building their bodies at a private training center in Arizona before entering spring training. By chance, our movements overlapped with those of Hanwha players. There was a reason why Hanwha players picked up their cell phones at any given opportunity. Although they were not in their prime, they were players with great careers.
Not to mention Greinke, who surpassed 200 wins in his major league career, Keuchel was also a player with an outstanding career. Keuchel, who debuted in the major league in Houston in 2012, achieved his first double-digit wins (12 wins) in 2014, and in 2015, he pitched 232 innings in 33 games and won the American League Cy Young Award with an incredible record of 20 wins, 8 losses, and an average ERA of 2.48. , and ranked 5th in MVP voting.
Keuchel, who reigned as a top pitcher with 14 wins in 2017 and 12 wins in 2015, signed a three-year contract with the Chicago White Sox for a total of $55.5 million ahead of the 2020 season, showing his own value in the free agent (FA) market. was recognized. Although he was not as valuable as when he won the Cy Young Award, he was still evaluated as having enough ability to make the starting rotation. Ahead of the 2020 season, he appeared on the free agent market at the same time as Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto) and received our attention.
However, the path thereafter was difficult. Although he performed well in 2020, which was a shortened season due to COVID-19, he began to go down a clear decline in 2021. He went 9-9 in 32 games in 2021, but his earned run average remained at 5.28. It was not a performance worthy of Keuchel’s career. When he failed to rebound in 2022, the White Sox released him despite the remaining contract period.
After being released, he signed with Arizona, but was released again after performing poorly. He signed with Texas, but after performing poorly there as well, the team he was looking for disappeared. His overall performance in 2022 was 2 wins, 9 losses, and an average ERA of 9.20 in 14 games, making him a completely ruined player. When the Hanwha players saw him, Keuchel was in a miserable situation as he had no team and was waiting for contact from other teams.
Keuchel’s ‘invincibility’ status lasted for quite a long time. It wasn’t until June that he signed a minor league contract with Minnesota. He immediately moved up to the major leagues and had a chance to turn things around, but it was a close call. As of the 13th, he has 1 win, 1 loss, and an average ERA of 4.78 in 6 games (5 starting games).
Keuchel is also not as good as he used to be. Although he was not a tremendous fastball pitcher, Keuchel, who performed well based on his sophisticated breaking ball, command, and extraordinary power of the ball, showed a rapid aging curve. He has only 4.8 strikeouts per 9 innings this year as well. He has become a catcher, but as a result, he has a lot of ups and downs in each game. On days when he has good control and a little luck, he plays well, but on days when he doesn’t, he often gets hit hard.
Ryu Hyun-jin, who signed a free agent contract at the same time, also had a somewhat downward slope from 2021 after ranking third in Cy Young Award voting in 2020. In 2022, he also underwent critical elbow surgery. However, since he returned this year, he has been showing off his health. In the game against Texas on the 13th, he recorded his first quality start (6 or more innings and 3 earned runs or less as a starter) after returning, and has 3 wins, 3 losses, and an average ERA of 2.93 in 8 games.메이저놀이터
These are two players who will both qualify as free agents after this season. He has a brilliant career, is a veteran left-hander, and has something in common in that he does not rely on speed. However, while Ryu Hyun-jin is certain to receive a guaranteed major league contract, Keuchel has not yet reached that level. If he messes up just a little bit, he might end up on the receiving end of a minor league contract again. The treatment of the two players in the free agent market, who are of similar age and likely to have similar utility, is attracting attention.