Why the KC Royals should give Danny Duffy a call

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Danny Duffy was with the KC Royals through some of the best days of his life and some of the lowest points of his career.

That’s why Duffy’s famous “Bury me a Royal” never seemed more poignant than at the 2021 trade deadline when Kansas City traded the left-hander to the Dodgers so he could help with a pennant push for the club he rooted for growing up in California.

Unfortunately for Duffy and the Dodgers, a nagging left flexor injury prevented him from ever throwing a pitch in Dodger Blue. He underwent surgery and should be ready to pitch sometime in 2022.

After becoming a free agent after the conclusion of the season, and although his future is somewhat uncertain, it may be a good time for the 11-year veteran to return to Royal Blue.

How left-hander Danny Duffy might be able to help the KC Royals right away.

His injury history may keep Duffy from a return to the starting rotation, but Duffy starting isn’t necessarily what the Royals need. Where Duffy can be a big help starts in the clubhouse. A popular teammate over the years and a fan favorite, the veteran presence of a player of Duffy’s caliber can be a tremendous asset for a club filled with young players and many just breaking into the big leagues.

Duffy experienced anxiety, depression and panic disorder early in his career and even walked away from the game in 2010. He was also arrested for DUI in 2017. Duffy knows about dealing with life’s problems and how quickly life can come at a young player or a veteran.

Duffy also knows success. Over the 2014-15 postseasons, he logged nine relief appearances with a pair of victories. He knows about big games and pressure.

After struggling through three straight seasons of ERAs of 4.34 or higher, Duffy was back on the right track in 2021. In four April starts, he was 3-1 with an 0.39 ERA. After his next three starts, his record was 4-3 and his ERA was up to 1.94 before a month-long stint on the Injured List. He came back June 23, but was only able to go five innings once in six more appearances before returning to the IL, and the subsequent trade to the Dodgers. Duffy obviously still knows how to pitch.

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Once baseball gets through its labor stoppage, several teams will likely be kicking the tires on Danny Duffy. For the sake of a young club like the Royals, he’s worth a look and a call.