Astros Rumors: Should the Royals’ Danny Duffy be a target?

Jun 30, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) during the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 30, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) during the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Astros Rumors: Would one year of Danny Duffy be worth the cost for the Houston Astros?

With all the recent moves to bulk up the Houston Astros offense, you would think that Jeff Luhnow would be finished. Instead, the latest Astros rumors have them shifting their attention to pitching. They most likely are done on the free agent market, but they could add via a trade. The team needs a top of the rotation pitcher, but there are not the type of pitcher on the free agent market.

Buster Olney chimed in on this and said the Stros are more likely to add via trade via free agency. The top remaining free agent is Ivan Nova, but the price for him might be too high after a bounce back year. Not that it’s a bad thing, but the Astros have a strong depth with hitters after recent moves. They could spare a bat for a top of the rotation pitcher.

The best way to look at where the Astros rotation is through the word of its president, Reid Ryan. Yesterday, on MLB Network Radio, Reid said, “What we lack is that starter who you pencil in at the top of the rotation that is an automatic W.” That’s exactly how I feel when looking at the rotation, outside of Lance McCullers and maybe Dallas Keuchel, this is not the case.

On this week’s Talking Stros, almost everyone who came on thought there was a trade on the horizon. Jeremy Booth of Program 15 thought that any trade begins with Alex Bregman, but he would only do it for Chris Sale. Jon Heyman Tweeted last night that the “Rays are open to anything!” Meaning they would open to trading some of their starting pitchers.

We know all this, let’s hear some new Astros rumors. Are there any other options outside of Tampa Bay and Chicago? According to Jon Morosi, the Royals are gauging the interest in left-hander Danny Duffy. Morosi said he might be available for a contender. You might have heard his name before. He had a breakout year in 2016 for the Royals. Last year, Duffy struck out 16 batters in a game versus Rays in August. He almost had a no-hitter in that game as well.

Listen to the latest Talking Stros below where we addressed all the Astros rumors.

More details of Duffy.

Duffy had Tommy John surgery in 2012 but returned at the end of the 2013 season. Duffy had a great ERA in 2014 but struggled a little in 2015. In 2016, he was the Royals ace, going 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA with 188 strikeouts in 179 2/3 innings. In his final year of arbitration, Duffy is projected to make $8.2 million according to MLB Trade Rumors. Speaking of the Royals, the Astros have a higher payroll than them at the moment.

More of a strikeout pitcher in the minors, he averaged 9.42 k/9 in 2016. His 2.8 WAR was nice, but he is more of a flyball pitcher. He throws an almost 96 mph fastball about 60% of the time. He complements the fastball with an 83 mph slider and an 85 mph changeup.

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Duffy is home run prone with 27 of them in 2016, but he dominates left-handers as 26 of the 27 are versus righties. He faced six times as many right-handed hitters than he did left-handed hitters. This tells me that LH hitters take a seat when Mr. Duffy is on the mound.

What is going against the Astros acquiring Duffy?

  • He’s a year-long rental, will be a free agent after 2017
  • The asking price could be high as the Royals rebuild a little
  • Duffy has agreed to take part in the WBC
  • The Royals may not want to trade him to a team in the AL
  • Other teams will jump into the picture

Next: Why the Astros chose Carlos Beltran.

What would it take to get a player like Duffy? Not as much as a Sale or Chris Archer, because he only has one year of team control. With Eric Hosmer entering his walk year, the Royals could use a first baseman. They would probably want an almost ready MiLB pitcher, such as a David Paulino, plus A.J. Reed, and another prospect. I don’t have any inside information, but Duffy would look awesome in Houston. If Sale is not an option, Duffy is Sale 2.0.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs***