KC Royals starter Danny Duffy went on the Injured List in mid-May with a left flexor strain, an injury sometimes considered to be a potential prelude to Tommy John surgery. He returned in late June and pitched well.
But he landed on the IL again this month and remains there with another left flexor strain.
Through it all, the 10-year major league veteran has been the Royals’ most consistent starter, with a 4-3, 2.51 ERA record that reflects some of the best work of his career.
Now, despite his injury status, Danny Duffy is headed West to become a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a move unusual because its focus is an injured pitcher whose return appears to be on track for late next month, Kansas City has traded Duffy to the Dodgers:
And at least one Royal is already saying goodbye to Duffy:
For the moment, it’s a soft deal, with the KC Royals receiving a player or players to be named later. Just how good the trade might be for Kansas City won’t be known until the return is identified.
Apparently not complicating the trade is Duffy’s recently-achieved status as a “10 & 5” player—because he now has 10 years of major league service time with the last five coming with the same team, Duffy could have nixed the deal and remained with Kansas City. But Duffy is from California, which may well have influenced his obvious decision to allow the trade to move forward.
Does this trade spell the end of Danny Duffy’s career with the KC Royals?
Also not shocking is that the Royals decided to move Duffy. He’s playing out the final season of his five year, $65 million contract, and the club needed to assure itself of getting some value in case Duffy tests the free agency market this winter. Only if the club gave him a Qualifying Offer, and he then signed with another team, could Kansas City receive something in return (a compensatory draft pick), but the team may have been reluctant to issue a QO.
But Duffy becoming a Dodger doesn’t necessarily mean Duffy’s days as a Royal are over. His desire to finish his career in Kansas City is well-known, and he can certainly open contract talks with the KC Royals when this major league season ends. Nothing in his relationship with the only franchise he’s ever known suggests he won’t, and nothing suggests the Royals won’t listen.
So, Duffy is gone for now, but don’t be surprised to see him in Royal, not Dodger, Blue in 2022.
The Royals and Danny Duffy parted ways Thursday afternoon. But the separation may not last long.