CARLSBAD, Calif. — Dallas Keuchel’s Gold Glove Award, his fifth, was a nice consolation prize for an otherwise bad year for the former Cy Young winner, who posted a career high 5.28 ERA and did not make the White Sox playoff roster.
Keuchel says the performance has left him motivated. He wants to be to be his old self again next season, and knows the Sox need him to be better in the the final year of his three-year, $55 million contract.
“That second half is not who I am,” Keuchel said on a Zoom call Monday. “I want to get back to who I am. I’d really like it to be February or March so I can come out and show everyone.”
The Sox hope he does. Keuchel talked as though he expected left-hander Carlos Rodon to be gone in free agency, and even though Michael Kopech is transitioning from the bullpen to the starting rotation, more quality innings will be in demand.
“Each one of us, whoever’s in the rotation, or however it shakes out, has had success at the big league level,” Keuchel said of Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and himself, as well as Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez. “Having Carlos this year was a huge bonus. It was just kind of a wild card play that we just kind of found that ace of spades in the deck; the way it was kind of just take your pick and we found it. It was just a bonus honestly with the amount of injuries that he’s been through, to have him actually come back out and do what he did was nothing short of amazing.
“Each one of us in the rotation next year could very well be that. And we’re going to need that. We’re going to need one or two guys to not step, but continue to be on the pace that they are. Because our division is not going to be a walk in the park by any means. It’s not going to be the AL Central of three or four years ago where three or four of the five teams were very, very subpar. We’re going to to have our work cut out for us. We are going to need one or two rotation guys to really carry the load.”
Keuchel posted a 1.99 ERA during the abbreviated 2020 season, his first with the Sox. This was his first Gold Glove on the South Side.
“It’s always special. I’ve always taken pride in my defense,” he said.