In the background of the Kansas City Royals surging back into the postseason race has been Danny Duffy having a terrific season, which obviously brings us to the question of when, and not if, the Royals give him a long term contract?
Duffy has been sublime in August, posting a 1.18 ERA through five starts, allowing only a .178 batting average and a sub .500 OPS, while striking out 5.28 batters per one walked. Overall this season, through 35 games and 19 starts, Duffy has a 2.66 ERA including one complete game, striking out 9.5 batters per nine innings, and sending 5.07 batters back to the dugout per every one he walks.
With the 27 year old eligible for arbitration at the end of the season (he makes $4.2 million this year) and a free agent after the 2017 season, like many of the Royals best players (Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas). From his point of view, he’s saying things fan love to hear: I don’t picture myself wearing anything but a Royals jersey….I’m not trying to pull out the violin, but I want to be here. They’ve been really good to me, good to my family. And it would just be absolutely devastating if I ever had to leave. In a perfect world, I would be here forever.
That’s all peachy and nice, but so far the Royals haven’t begun negotiations with Duffy, with the talks assumed to start after the season. The Royals do see a risk in Duffy, who had a very strong 2014 season, but a rough 2015, demoted to the bullpen during the season, and remaining in reliever capacity through the playoffs.
He’s also had one Tommy John surgery, and the Royals are monitoring his innings closely. He pitched his career high in 2014 (149.1), a number he should leave behind this season, so far pitching through 138.2 innings, returning to the rotation at some point. It’s an interesting situation, as the Royals won’t extend everyone on their to-do list, or win their free agency battles. From Duffy’s standpoint, comes the decision between going for the big payday in the 2017-2018 offseason, or not risking an injury or his ability heading in the wrong direction, and penning an extension after the 2016 season is over.