White Sox's Dallas Keuchel Has 'More To Prove'

The 32-year-old Keuchel wants to pitch for another 10 years in MLB.

Bruce Levine
February 24, 2020 - 12:16 pm

GLENDALE, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- After sitting out of spring training and the first three months of the 2019 regular season because he was unsigned, White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel is comforted by having a full ramp-up ahead of him now.

Keuchel had a 3.75 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 19 starts in 2019, when he didn't sign with the Braves on a one-year deal until early June and then made his first start late that month.

"I could have used a couple of more (minor league) starts last summer," Keuchel said. "Toward my last 10 or 12 starts, I felt more in tune with myself. Jumping into the fire in late June is not for the faint of heart. That said, I will take that with me and deal with the reality of it."

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Keuchel signed a three-year, $55.5-million contract with the White Sox this winter, a deal that includes a vesting option for a fourth season. Having turned 32 in January, Keuchel has lofty ambitions for his longevity -- he wants to pitch another decade in MLB.

"Because of the experience, I am better prepared and have more personal insight than ever," he said. "This may work to my advantage over the 10 years that I want to pitch.

"I have a strong love of the game. That will never expire for me. As long as I can compete, I will go out and compete. When I had that downtime last year, I did an inventory check of my priorities and I said what do I want to do. I already proved a lot of doubters wrong. I have more to prove to myself here."

A groundball-inducing pitcher who relies on deception and control a great deal, Keuchel has the type of arsenal that often ages well. As always, that's what he'll utilize here in 2020, when he projects as a frontline starter for the White Sox.

"My goal is certainly not to live in the middle of strike zone," Keuchel said. "Everything I throw should have some movement. I have always lived with the fear of failure as a motivating tool. I never want to let people down. I learned that from teammates who knew Greg Maddux, that he survived for all those years near the top with a motivation of fear of getting hit often and fear of failure. That was his driving source of being great. That has been in my toolbox of trying to be successful as  well."

The White Sox front office believes Keuchel can be a strong influence on their young pitching staff, and he's happy to be a mentor.

"I want to help some of these younger guys reach the level I have reached before," Keuchel said. "I was just a seventh-round pick, with expectations from them pretty modest. I was able to turn myself into something that nobody expected. My goal is to help a few of these guys feel what I felt when I became more than efficient. If I do my job and can help one or two of these guys get to another level, that will help the entire organization for the next three or four years."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.