KC Royals: Danny Duffy To Pen Clarifies Playoff Staff


KC Royals manager Ned Yost announced on Thursday that Danny Duffy would move to the pen, with Jeremy Guthrie returning to the rotation. Yost told the Associated Press about the move:

"“We need four consistent starters in the postseason, and the other four were outperforming Danny,” Yost said. “We need to see if he can be productive out of the pen, and we think he can.”"

The move leaves Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Yordano Ventura, and Kris Medlen as the expected four-man rotation for the Kansas City Royals in the playoffs. My Kings of Kauffman co-editor David Hill reviews fourth starter candidates here.

Though Guthrie will take over as the fifth starter for the rest of the season, I suspect his return is more a matter of eating innings rather than a sign that Guthrie will play a significant role for the KC Royals in the post-season.

Given Guthrie’s 5.39 ERA, and his struggles as both a starter and reliever, I don’t expect him to make the KC Royals 25-man playoff roster.

Ned Yost cited Danny Duffy’s high pitch counts as the primary reason for the move:

"“He was unable to get us much past the fifth inning, and you can’t afford that,” Yost said. “You’ve got to have guys who go out and get you deep into games and preserve your pen as much as you can. The production wasn’t there as a starter right now.”"

While the Kansas City Royals probably would have liked to have one left-handed starter in case they have to play post-season games in New York, moving Danny Duffy to the pen does have the benefit of adding an extra lefty reliever to go with Franklin Morales. If Duffy performs well in a bullpen role, I expect him to end any hope of Wandy Rodriguez or Scott Alexander of making the playoff roster.

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A second lefty will enable Ned Yost to play more match-ups in the middle innings of playoff games. He will also have both a lefty and righty with enough arm strength to pitch multiple innings in Chris Young and Danny Duffy, in case a starter wobbles early in a playoff game.

However, if Duffy continues having trouble finding the plate, the KC Royals might drop him from the playoff staff. In the long-term, however, I believe the Kansas City Royals front office is still counting on the 26-year-old Duffy to be part of the 2016 rotation.

As for Jeremy Guthrie, the next 16 games shape up to be his swan song with the KC Royals. His contract expires at the end of the season. While the team holds a $10 million option year, I can’t imagine general manager Dayton Moore picking it up with young fireballers like Miguel Almonte and Kyle Zimmer performing well in the high minors.

Next: KC Royals Fourth Starter Candidates For The Post-Season

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