The countdown of Dallas Keuchel’s free-agency saga is almost complete as the southpaw is expected to sign shortly.
And most signs continue to point toward the Yankees.
A source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand on Tuesday that the Yankees will sign Keuchel and “they are emerging as the true favorites.”
The Atlanta Braves are also believed to be in the running for the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner.
Signing Keuchel further proves that the Yankees are gunning for a World Series title this year despite being ransacked by injuries. They’re still the top dogs in the American League East with a litany of backup players and starting-pitching concerns.
Keuchel bolsters the Yankees rotation, which has been without staff ace Luis Severino this season as he continues to recover from a lat and rotator cuff injuries.
The 31-year-old is fully healthy after a couple of injury-stricken seasons that withheld him from sustaining any sort of consistent success after his award-winning season four years ago.
Still, adding a left-hander who has gone 55-36 with a 3.37 ERA and 638 strikeouts in 750.1 innings pitched is going to be a welcomed addition to a shaky situation in the Bronx.
The rotation has also experienced time without CC Sabathia and James Paxton while losing depth starter Jonathan Loaisiga until July.
They’ve received some big-time contributions from Domingo German to help keep the rotation afloat. The now-healthy Sabathia and Paxton add further stability to the Yankees’ current five-man rotation that also features Masahiro Tanaka and the inconsistent JA Happ.
While a possible signing of Keuchel could replace one of those arms in the rotation, Yankees manager Aaron Boone alluded to the possibility of rolling out a six-man rotation on Saturday shortly before the return of Sabathia.
Difficult decisions would lay ahead shortly after, though, as Severino is slated to return after the All-Star break in July, giving the Yankees a seven-man rotation if everyone stays healthy.
Given this season’s track record, that isn’t a guarantee.