The Baltimore Orioles offseason continues on after signing Kyle Gibson to bolster the starting rotation, perhaps to take the spot once held by Jordan Lyles. But they could always use more pitching depth, because John Means won’t return till midseason 2023 at the absolute earliest. Enter Danny Duffy.
2023 will be Duffy’s age 34 season, and he does come with injury concerns after not pitching at all in 2022, but I think there’s value to be found in Duffy. He can step into the rotation and can fill a need in the bullpen down the stretch when Means gets back. Let’s take a look at why the Orioles should explore signing Duffy.
While the Orioles did say they would look to spend big this offseason, Duffy won’t come to expensive, as he made $3 million to not play in 2022, thanks to the Los Angeles Dodgers. That’s a pretty cheap move for someone who would be a one year experiment, considering 2021 was the last season he pitched.
How did he perform in that 2021 season? Well, he was limited to 13 appearances, 12 of which were starts, due to injury, but those 13 games produced some solid numbers. He had a 2.51 ERA, 3.40 FIP, and 1.21 WHIP, striking out 65 hitters over 61 innings of work.
The underlying numbers produced some positive results as well. His average of 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings was reflected with a 64th percentile ranking in strikeout percentage, and a 72nd percentile ranking in whiff percentage. His walk percentage was in the 43rd percentile, close to league average, but his chase rate was in the 77th percentile, so he’s capable of getting some swings on bad pitches.
Duffy has flip-flopped between starting and relieving more recently, as he has by far the most numbers as a starter. Between 204 starts and 30 relief appearances, Duffy has a 3.95 ERA, 4.17 FIP, and 1.316 WHIP, throwing 1,172 1/3 innings over 11 big league seasons.
Basically, Danny Duffy is a pitcher that could play an important role as a swingman in 2023 for the Orioles as they look to take that next step. Being an integral part of the 2014 and 2015 Royals, he’s a proven winner. He’ll come cheap at something close to $3 million, and he can start the year in the rotation and move to the bullpen when John Means makes his return or someone else on the fringe of the rotation outplays him. I think this is a signing that should be made for Mike Elias and the front office.