At his first Sox Fest, Dallas Keuchel apologizes for Astros’ sign-stealing

New Chicago White Sox pitcher Dallas Keuchel is interviewed on opening day of SoxFest at McCormick Place West in Chicago on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – It figured that they’d get brought up at some point when he talked, but it wasn’t a reporter that got the pitcher to speak about his old team.

Dallas Keuchel was the first to talk about the Astros on Friday at Sox Fest when asked about his reasons for signing with the south siders this offseason.

“It kinda reminds me of my old ballclub in Houston and kinda the whole process they took,” said Keuchel, referring to the White Sox rebuild and the resemblance to the one in Houston. “Obviously, I think there’s a lot more talent than there was when I first came up with the Astros.

“Last year I told myself I wasn’t going to go back to a team like that, but here we are.”

Indeed he was, yet unfortunately his future and past came together at McCormick Place West later in the interview, for obvious reasons. Keuchel was on the Astros during their World Series championship run in 2017, which is now under scrutiny after Major League Baseball’s investigation found the team engaged in an elaborate sign-stealing during that time.

It led to the firing of Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow along with two others managers who were apart of that 2017 club – Alex Cora (Red Sox) and Carlos Beltran (Mets).

Once it was brought up, Keuchel did something other players have yet to do yet: Say he’s sorry.

“I think first and foremost, I think apologies should be in order, if not for everybody on the team,” said Keuchel when asked about the Astros sign-stealing controversy. “When the stuff was going on, it was never intended to be what it’s made to be right now. When stuff comes out about things during the course of a big league ball season, it’s always blown up to the point of ‘Oh my gosh, this has never happened before.'”

Keuchel spent his first seven major league seasons in Houston before departing in 2018. Having gotten to know most everyone involved in the controversy, the pitcher says that he believes that others in the organization are remorseful for what happened, even if they’ve yet to say it publically.

“Was it against the rules? Yes, and I’m personally am sorry for it, for what’s come about, the whole situation, but it is what it is and we’ve got to move past that,” said Keuchel. “I never thought anything would have come like it did and I myself am sorry, but we’ve got to move on.”

The lefty does so with the White Sox this year, now two seasons removed from his time in Houston. That included time with Mike Fiers, who first went public with the details of the sign-stealing in The Athletic in November of 2019.

“That’s a tough subject because you’re such a tight-knit community in the clubhouse, in baseball especially. You’re playing 162 games at least in the regular season plus spring training and maybe in the playoffs if you’re lucky,” said Kuechel when asked about Fiers going public with the sign-stealing. “So you’re pushing 185-200 games and it sucks to the extent that the clubhouse rule was broken. I mean…and that’s where I’ll go with that. I don’t really have much else to say about Mike.”

For the record, Keuchel went 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 2017 then 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA with the Astros before spending a majority of the season with the Braves. He said that the sign-stealing might have helped, but it wasn’t completely effective, joking about its ineffectiveness in some starts.

“We might have had a few runs more per game. I, in my instance, I did not,” said Keuchel. ” I was actually pretty mad about that, I didn’t really enjoy that sometimes. But it is what it is and it just happened to come out that Mike said something and, who knows, I don’t think anyone else is going to come out and say something from other teams, they see what happens now.”

That’s why Kuechel’s former team was just as much of a subject as his new one this weekend.

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