The KC Royals might decide it’s time to shift Duffy to a different role.
Thinking of Danny Duffy as a relief pitcher is nothing new. Indeed, speculating that he will, or should, move to Kansas City’s bullpen is an annual affair for media and fans. Recurring injuries and durability—Duffy’s pitched over 150 innings only twice in his 11-year career—underlie the suggestions that relieving suits him better than starting.
And Duffy is no stranger to the pen. His career relief appearances are far from rare.
Duffy pitched most frequently out of the KC Royals’ bullpen in 2016, when he made 16 relief appearances in 42 games with an 0-0, 3.00 record. He relieved six times in both 2014 and 2015 and was 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA the first year, and 0-0, 0.00 in 8.1 innings, and earned his only big league save, in the second. He pitched two-thirds of an innings in relief late last season.
And he his strikeout rates in relief are excellent: 11.9 in 2014, 13.0 in 2015, and 10.5 in 2016.
Overall, he’s 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA, 1.086 WHIP, and an 11.3 SO9 in 29 career relief appearances.
Duffy’s successful times as a reliever are a few seasons old, but nothing suggests he wouldn’t be effective in that role now. His good track record and latest injury might tempt the Royals to move Duffy to the bullpen to spare him the rigors of starting and create some space in the rotation for one of the club’s talented young pitching prospects.
A change in assignment certainly isn’t out of the question for Duffy.