Royals Rumors: Yankees could be interested in trading for Danny Duffy

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Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Royals rumors might kick off sooner than we thought, as there could be some interest in Danny Duffy. The Yankees are going to start the 2020 season with two of their big major league arms on the shelf for a good chunk of time.

The New York Yankees have lost starting pitcher Luis Severino for the entire season, as he needs Tommy John surgery. Yankees starter James Paxton is expected to miss time at the start of the 2020 season recovering from a back procedure.

The Yankees starting rotation is set at the top with Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ. The two back-end of the rotation spots are unsettled this early in spring training with Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga, Deivi Garcia, Luis Cessa, Mike King, Chad Bettis, and Nick Tropeano all vying for the job.

If none of the Yankees in-house options step forward this spring there is a decent likelihood, they will trade for an option elsewhere. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Kansas City Royals starter pitcher Danny Duffy is one such option.

Duffy’s numbers:

  • 2019 stats – 4.34 ERA, 1.309 WHIP, 115 Ks, 46 BBs (8 HBP), with a 4.78 FIP in 130.2 innings worth 1.3 WAR
  • 2020 Steamer projection – 4.73 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 159 Ks, 64 BBs (8 HBP), with a 4.86 FIP in 184.0 innings worth 1.8 WAR

Duffy finished the 2019 season with a strong performance in September and October. Returning from an IL stint, Duffy pitched 30.1 innings of 2.37 ERA, 25 Ks, and 10 BBs holding hitters to a .185/.264/.287 slash line. So far this spring, Duffy has only appeared in one game pitching two innings, striking out three, allowing three hits, and one walk.

According to Royals beat writer Jeffrey Flanagan for, Duffy spent the offseason reworking his slider. In his spring appearance, Duffy showed off an 87-mph slider that had late break and acted like a cutter. Throughout his career, Duffy’s slider typically sat between 82-84 mph.

Duffy has been inconsistent with locating his curveball the past couple of seasons and has diminished his usage of the pitch as a result. The Yankees prefer sliders over curveballs with their pitchers, adding a higher velocity slider to his arsenal improves Duffy’s appeal to the Yankees.

Duffy’s fastball also has some early good velocity numbers this spring sitting around 93-mph. We likely won’t see Duffy return to the 96-mph fastball velocity he flashed in starts between the 2012 – 2016 seasons, but he has learned over the years how to generate weak contact with command and sequencing.

Danny Duffy’s injury history and remaining contract could be hindering to the potential of the value of the trade return. He has missed time for various injuries the past three seasons and his remaining contract guaranteeing $15.25 million in 2020 and $15.5 million in 2021 could turn off trade suitors including the Yankees who have young but talented in-house options.

If Duffy continues to show he’s healthy during spring training, he could find himself in pinstripes if the Yankees get desperate. The trade returns for Duffy could increase during the season if he shows the consistency and success from the last couple of months of the 2019 season. Duffy still has the ability to be a solid number three type starter with an ERA around 3.50 with around 8.0 K/9.

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