Potential Yankees free-agent target Dallas Keuchel reportedly prefers big market

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While the Yankees may wait until after the MLB draft to pursue free-agent starting pticher Dallas Keuchel, there reportedly appears to be mutual interest.

The Yankees, Fancred's Jon Heyman said on WFAN on Thursday, are considered one of the favorites to sign Keuchel, who is still a free agent after rejecting the Astros' $17.9 million qualifying offer last offseason.

"I think the Yankees will be there for Keuchel," Heyman told WFAN's "Joe and Evan." "I think at this point, there's not a bad chance that the Yankees end up with Keuchel. Keuchel, from what I understand, would love to be in a big market, and the suitors for the most part to this point have not been of that ilk. ... If I had to pick one team out of the 30 right now, I would go with the Yankees."

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The 31-year-old Keuchel has reportedly turned down "numerous" offers, seeking to find a contract that represents his value. Previous reports have indicated Keuchel would be willing to sign a one-year deal and then "resetting," Heyman reported in April.

Keuchel told Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brow earlier this week he is "not going to dwell on" the waiting process, even if it means waiting until after June's amateur draft.

If the Yankees, who will be without Luis Severino until after the All-Star break and James Paxton for another couple of weeks, were to sign Keuchel before the draft, they would need to surrender a draft pick as compensation and also give up international bonus pool money.

However, a team that signs him (or free-agent reliever Craig Kimbrel) after the MLB draft, which runs from June 3 to June 5, would not be required to forfeit a pick or bonus pool money, a strategy other teams have reportedly considered, according to Fox Sports' Jon Morosi.

Even though the Yankees' rotation (not to mention their entire lineup) has dealt with injuries, their starting pitchers have combined for the seventh-ranked ERA (3.57) in the majors. 

Domingo German is tied for the MLB lead with six wins and ranks third in the American League with a 2.35 ERA. Meawhile, Masahiro Tanaka is 2-3 with a 3.77 ERA and J.A. Happ is 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA. CC Sabathia returned from the injured list and is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA in five starts as well. 

But still available is Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner who went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA last year and 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 2017.

"I would love to be out there playing ball and helping a team win," Keuchel said earlier this week. "Because, to my career at this point, I've done more winning than I have losing and at a much higher clip. So what team wouldn't want me to be out there?"

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