Chicago Cubs: Making a case for Danny Duffy joining the rotation
Adding pitching depth is obviously essential for the Chicago Cubs in 2022, and if they are not going to be spending on top free agents, then they will need to get creative. There is still some decent value out there, they are just not nearly as flashy as Max Scherzer or Clayton Kershaw. The Cubs will likely not have a top-tier rotation next season, but there is a chance for it to get significantly better than it was in 2021. Not saying much…but the point still stands.
One name that has come up as an option previously is veteran Danny Duffy. The 32-year-old lefty had spent his entire MLB playing career with the Kansas City Royals. He was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers last year mid-season, but injuries sidelined him and he did not throw a single pitch with the club. While he does not have a reputation of being anything spectacular, there are things he is sneaky good at, which could make him valuable.
Why Danny Duffy could be a nice fit on the Chicago Cubs
Duffy sports a career 3.95 ERA, 1.3 WHIP, 4.17 FIP, 1,048 strikeouts, 432 walks in 1,172.1 innings. Overall solid numbers, a tad better than average in terms of ERA and FIP. He was having a really nice year in 2021 before the injury, pitching to a 2.51 ERA and 3.40 FIP with 65 strikeouts in 61 innings.
What can make Duffy attractive is the fact that he strikes out hitters at a pretty good rate. In his career he is an 8.0 K/9 pitcher and sports an 8.6 K/9 over his last 729 innings pitched (2016-2021). His fastball these days averages 92-93 MPH, which might not be super overpowering, but he mixes in changeups, sliders and curves, as well.
Statcast has several notable metrics on Duffy’s pitches. Overall last year he was in the 72nd percentile in whiff rate and 77th percentile in chase rate. In other words, he ranks well above average in both departments. It is also worth noting that he has added more vertical movement on his curve and slider over the past year. Seeing as his fastball velocity and movement is in the 50-60th percentile (average/slightly above average), adding more potential effectiveness on the breaking pitches can work to his advantage.
All in all, a potential move for Duffy would bring in a decent four-spot veteran arm who can miss some bats. I’m not going to act like this is a huge move or he will pitch All-Star quality baseball, but he’s still someone who could do a solid job at a good price and possibly provide some trade value if the Cubs are looking to flip for more assets at the deadline.