According to Mike Swanson, VP of Communications and Broadcasting for the team, the Royals have optioned Danny Duffy to the minor leagues, along with Donnie Joseph. Cory Wade and P.J. Walters have been reassigned to minor league camp, leaving 33 players in the major league camp.
It seemed that Duffy had a great shot at making the roster as a reliever, once he lost the final starting spot to Yordano Ventura, but the Royals may believe Duffy needs more work in Omaha, after walking two and giving up a home run in his one inning of work against the Rangers yesterday. According to Andy McCullough, Duffy will go back to the rotation in AAA.
As I’ve mentioned before, Duffy still has some potential as a starter, so I’m glad they have decided to continue trying to develop him for that. It’s possible that a stint in the bullpen could have worked out for both Duffy and the Royals, but I think it would be more difficult to make the adjustments he needs to make while pitching in 1 to 2 inning spurts in low leverage situations. While in Omaha, Duffy can focus on his slider and refining his fastball command, so when Bruce Chen needs to be pulled from the rotation, Duffy will be ready to replace him.
In the meantime, Joseph being optioned likely means Francisley Bueno will be the 7th reliever in the Royals’ bullpen on Opening Day. Joseph had another solid spring, striking out 9 batters in 5.2 innings, although he did walk another 6 batters. Despite reports that the Royals were not worried about losing the option-less Bueno, it appears they did prefer to maintain their inventory of relief depth, at least for now. Until one of the relievers needs to be sent down for injury or ineffectiveness, Joseph will stay in Omaha, where he’ll likely continue to perform well.