Keuchel hopes to lead by avoiding arbitration

AL Cy Young Award winner believes record-setting deal will help fellow pitchers

Keuchel hopes to lead by avoiding arbitration

HOUSTON -- When speaking publicly for the first time about the one-year, $7.25 million deal he agreed to on Friday with the Astros to avoid arbitration, left-hander Dallas Keuchel said he hopes the unprecedented deal will benefit other pitchers that will go through the process in the future.

Keuchel, who won the American League Cy Young Award last season, set a record for a starting pitcher in the first year of arbitration, shattering the previous record of $4.35 million set by both Dontrelle Willis and David Price.

"I didn't just help out myself," Keuchel said on Thursday during an Astros Caravan stop. "I helped out the guys behind me, and if I can do something to help out my fellow peers after me, that's definitely a nice compensation."

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Keuchel became just the third player in franchise history to win the Cy Young Award, joining Mike Scott (1986) and Roger Clemens (2004), who both won it in the National League. In 2015, Keuchel also won the Players Choice Award for the AL Most Outstanding Pitcher, the Warren Spahn Award, which is given to the top left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, and his second consecutive Gold Glove Award.

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Keuchel went 20-8 with three complete games and a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts last season. He led all AL pitchers in wins, WAR (7.2), innings (232), WHIP (1.017) and ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio (3.68), ranked second in ERA and opponents' batting average (.217) and tied for third in complete games.

"Although [the Cy Young] is the nicest award for a pitcher to receive, it's just kind of a normal offseason so far," Keuchel said. "I guess that's a good thing because it makes me even more hungrier to get back out there and do the best I can for 2016 as well."

Keuchel, 28, and AL Rookie of the Year shortstop Carlos Correa will travel to New York City on Saturday for the Baseball Writers' Association of America dinner, where they will receive their hardware.

"It's going to be nice," Keuchel said. "It's something I worked my tail off for, and I'm taking my family up there with me. I think my parents are more excited than I am, not only for the award, but for New York City. Hopefully, we'll miss the snow, but it's going to be nice to kind of soak it all in and enjoy my time with them, and enjoy something I worked so hard for."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.