One year ago, Dallas Keuchel was a man without a team. The left-handed starter chose not to sign with anyone during the off-season – in fact, he didn't sign until June, when he joined the Atlanta Braves.
"I’m going to l look back, hopefully at this point maybe 10 years from now when I’m still pitching, and say, ‘Hey – that was good for the players association, that was good for the players, and it was good for me’," said Keuchel. "Because ultimately I can draw from that, and hopefully someday I can tell my grand kids that I took half a year off and still did alright."
As a result, for the first time in more than a decade, Keuchel didn't take part in spring training last February and March. Now that he's back in a big league camp with the White Sox, he's enjoying all the little things he missed out on 12 months ago.
"Just being around the guys early, and knowing the things that are going to go on, and waking up in the morning, getting here early, watching some video, and just having breakfast with the guys is what it’s all about," Keuchel said.
The 32 year-old signed a three-year, $55.5 million deal in the off-season, and it includes a team option for 2023. He's been a part of playoff teams in four of the last five seasons, and he thinks that run could continue with his new team.
"I told Rick Hahn this – I said, ‘Four out of the last five years I’ve made the playoffs, and I don’t expect any of these three years to be any different’," Keuchel remembered.
Personally, the veteran starter says he feels better than he has in years. Now he's hoping to make a big impact in the Sox rotation, one that puts a halt to the South Siders rebuild.
"The White Sox are in a good position to make that next step forward, and the next step is the playoffs. There’s really nothing else to talk about or do for this team," Keuchel said.