by Alex Poletti
Fourteen games into the 2019 Major League Baseball regular season, Dallas Keuchel has started regretting his hide-and-seek inspired free agent strategy, which still leaves him without a team.
“I decided to hide from all of the GMs at the winter meetings and beyond to see if they could find me,” the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner says. “After a while, it’s like they weren’t even looking. Did they know I was still playing?”
Keuchel and his agent, Scott Boras, decided on this strategy after the first few pitchers were signed this offseason. Boras, who also represents high profile players like Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer, is known to hold out for the best deal available. Often, this leaves his players on the market well into Spring Training, as was the case with Harper this year.
With Keuchel, however, Boras advocated for an experimental approach to physically hide from general managers at the meetings.
“We knew Dallas was the number one starter available,” Boras explains. “So we thought, as a psychological thing, if we hide from them, they’ll just want us more and go looking for us.”
As such, the former Astro hid under tables or behind shrubs outside of the meeting rooms when Boras scheduled sit-downs with teams and owners.
One hitch in the plan was that Keuchel was much better at hide and seek than anticipated.
“I thought it would maybe take us five to ten minutes to find him, but he was actually really good,” Boras says. “He’s from Oklahoma and likes to hunt. I think he utilized a lot of the camouflage gear he has at home.”
As the game went on, Dallas Keuchel faded into the background, literally, as he was standing like a statue against the wall.
“I’ll be honest, I kind of forgot about the game, too,” Boras admits. “With the Harper fiasco taking up most of my attention this winter and Keuchel just doing his best to hide, I totally forgot where he was.”
Late into the offseason, with the two-time all star still expertly hiding from teams, he decided to loosen up and give the teams a bit of a chance.
“Whenever I saw a GM or owner pass by, I’d cough really loudly or move something a little bit, just so they’d look over,” Keuchel says. “I thought that would be enough, but they just kept on walking like they didn’t hear a thing.”
Now, in mid-April after months of hiding, Keuchel has called the game.
“Okay, you found me!” the Gold Glover said as he emerged from a cupboard to an empty room. “I guess you all can sign me now.”
Teams have yet to notice Keuchel’s reappearance.