Keuchel reported to West Palm Beach, Fla., for the start of spring training and opened a six-week window for contract negotiations before he begins the final year of his contract.
Keuchel, 30, hired Scott Boras as his agent after going 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 2017.
“If there is something, it’s going to happen before the season,” Keuchel said. “There’s going to be no contractual negotiations during the regular season. I feel like that would be a negative light on some of the teammates while those guys are busting their butts. I don’t want anything happening behind the scenes with me that would affect those guys. I want to play ball and see where that leads us.”
Keuchel was 9-0 before the All-Star break last year, but missed nearly two months with a neck issue. He won the American League Cy Young in 2015.
Keuchel will play this season under a one-year, $13.2 million contract.
“Anything after winning the World Series is an added bonus. That’s the way I’ve always taken this game. I play it because I love it,” Keuchel said.
The Astros overhauled their rotation with two trades, landing Justin Verlander in August 2017 and Gerrit Cole in a January deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving Houston one of the best starting trios in baseball.
“From a baseball fan perspective, you have the pitching that dominates, really, the first half of the game, and then you have that almost video-game atmosphere at the end. Everyone here knows hitting is super hard, and pitching is super hard, and doing it under those lights, it’s crazy. But to be able to see teams just slug it back and forth – I’m never going to forget that game, that’s for sure.”
–Field Level Media