Sep 2, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) delivers a pitch in the fourth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Return of Danny Duffy for the Kansas City Royals


After losing out on the final spot in the Kansas City Royals rotation to Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy was sent down to Omaha to stay ready in case he was needed. At the time, it was expected that Duffy would come up either when one of the starters was injured, or to provide a boost to the rotation in the second half. If Duffy was able to start pitching deeper into games, then that would be a bonus.

Feb 24, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Danny Duffy poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

That plan lasted for exactly one minor league start. Duffy was brought up before yesterday’s game to be a part of the Royals bullpen, serving as the only left handed reliever option at this point. The promotion of Duffy once again gives the Royals a seven man bullpen, as Johnny Giavotella was sent back to Omaha with Omar Infante being ready for game action.

The timing of the move is curious. Tim Collins and Francisley Bueno were both placed on the disabled list on April 7th, yet the Royals have brought up several pitchers before Duffy. Was that one start, where Duffy gave up five hits and a walk while striking out four over six innings, really enough to make the Royals feel that he was ready? Likewise, if Duffy was being called up to be a reliever, then why not keep him on the Opening Day roster? Were the Royals truly that concerned with potentially losing Bueno?

It may simply be that the Royals just did not have a choice in who to bring up. Donnie Joseph, who was sent back down to Omaha so Giavotella could be called up, has not performed well thus far for the Storm Chasers. In fact, every other left handed option in Omaha has struggled as well this season, leaving Duffy as the only logical choice.

Yet, given Danny Duffy‘s difficulties when it comes to pitching deep in games, such a role may be best. While turning Duffy into a reliever may not have been in the Royals plans, at least at this point in the season, he may be well suited for the role. If his 2014 debut, and the 2.1 perfect innings with three strikeouts, are any indication, Duffy could well stabilize that spot in the bullpen.

Having Duffy in the bullpen is likely a temporary solution, one that will end once Collins or Bueno are ready to return from the disabled list. However, if he performs well in his time in Kansas City, the Royals may elect to keep him in the bullpen until he is needed to replace either Bruce Chen or Jeremy Guthrie in the rotation.

Danny Duffy may not have been the Royals first choice for the bullpen. He may not have even been their second or third choice. Yet, despite that, he could end up being the best option they called up.

 

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  • jimfetterolf

    I think it took Duffy 46 pitches yesterday, so efficiency is still an issue, but if he can handle relief that allows Collins to go to Omaha for a tune up. Danny’s performance will make the decisions, whether he’s a swing man, loogy, or set up man. Or goes back to Omaha.

  • moretrouble

    Duffy replace Guthrie in the rotation? You’re kidding, right?

    • unclejesse40

      I think if I had to guess I would say that Duffy replaces Shields. if this season tanks it will be around the all star break or if we have a successful season it will be next year once Shields is playing in a different uniform. So with that said I would have Duffy a AAA working on control and getting that arm back into starting shape so that he is ready to go next year. Got to have a long term plan as well as a short term one.

  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    Any beef people have with Guthrie needs to stop. He has done nothing but produce and win for the Royals. He’s 2-0 this year with a 3.55 ERA. If Duffy is going to take anyones spot in the rotation it will be Chen.

    Tell this…why are Royals fans so quick to say Guthrie needs to go because he is/will regress, yet Billy has been playing terrible for the last 2 years and we still love him and according to 610 radio “one of the best right hand hitters in the league”? If anyone needs to be sent to the minors or released or traded is Billy Butler. Not Guthrie. Not Moose. Not Chen. Not Collins. Not Duffy.

    It has always been thought that Duffy would replace Chen in the rotation. Never once has anyone in the Royals organization said that Guthrie needs to be worried or is a potential candiate for being taken out of the rotation, so their is no need to continue throwing his name into the equation. Guthrie is a winner. He is a proven winning. He is probably the best #4 pitcher in the AL, if not MLB.

    • unclejesse40

      I agree totally on Guthrie. The guy has been one of our better pitchers in recent history for the Royals and his type of game isn’t the kind that falls off the face of the earth the older he gets, just like Vargas. His styles plays well at the K and he is a positive in the club house. I think he will be totally worth the contract the Royals signed him to.

  • unclejesse40

    I think what is frustrating me more than anything this morning is the Royals seem to be a team without a plan right now. Duffy’s role has changed like 3 times since the start of the season. Moose still can’t hit lefties which isnt that big of a problem if they would bring in Valencia. Why even have him on the roster if you aren’t going to use him for the one reason you brought him in. I have some very negative things to say this morning which I think I will keep to myself because I am trying to stay positive with this team. But if we don’t go 2-3 against the Astros I might start going crazy.