The Philadelphia Phillies' trade for Jay Bruce, along with draft pick compensation going away, culminated into two of the club's free agent targets in closer Craig Kimbrel and southpaw starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel signing elsewhere in back-to-back days.
One day after Kimbrel inked a three-year deal with the National League Central-leading Chicago Cubs, Keuchel signed a one-year pact worth $20 million (prorated to $13 million) with the Phillies division rival Atlanta Braves on Thursday, first reported by The Athletic's David O'Brien. Keuchel's first start is scheduled for Saturday with the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that Keuchel "should be ready realistically by early July," adding he has an "impeccable reputation" as a "clubhouse leader," which will help the young Braves staff — whose starting pitchers rank 17th in MLB with a 4.38 ERA.
The two-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove Award winner, 2017 World Series champion and 2015 Cy Young Award winner has a career 2.55 ERA against National League East opponents, his best against any division, ESPN Stats & Info notes. Through seven seasons with the Houston Astros since 2012, Keuchel combined to go 76-63 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.250 WHIP.
Keuchel will surely help the Braves neutralize some of the Phillies' left-handed bats, including sluggers Bruce and Bryce Harper.