Well, many of you read my original article in which I paired the Royals with the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade for Danny Duffy (among others). Not too long ago it was announced that the Marlins traded Christian Yelich to the Brewers for three of the four players that I wanted the Royals to bring to KC. Now that that trade can’t happen anymore, where is a good fit for Duffman?
Every team in the league would gladly take Danny Duffy on their team. There’s not a team in baseball with four better options than Duffy in their rotation. The problem for KC is that the asking price is going to be so high for Duffy (and rightfully so), that there’s only going to be a handful of teams who not only can make a trade for him, but also that would be willing to.
There is one team in particular that I think is in a position much like Milwaukee that could be a good fit for Danny Duffy. This team made the playoffs last year, has a fantastic offense, an above average bullpen, some young SP’s that need someone to carry them at the top, and a loaded farm system.
The Minnesota Twins shocked the world in 2017 when they won 85 games and made the playoffs as the AL’s second wild card team. The Twins became the first team ever to make the playoffs one year removed from losing 100 games. The Twins will look to build on their 2017 season by competing with the Indians for the AL Central, but are still 1-2 pieces away from doing so.
Danny Duffy could be the difference for the Twins making the playoffs again in 2018, and missing them all together. As it stands right now, the Twins rotation is made up of Jose Berrios, Ervin Santana, Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, and one of Adalberto Mejia and Phil Hughes. Neither Mejia or Hughes belong in a rotation that has its eyes set on the playoffs. Neither Odorizzi nor Gibson belong higher than the 4th or 5th spot in any rotation.
Danny Duffy is the LHP that Minnesota needs to pencil in between Berrios and Santana. The Twins have never been a team to break the bank when it comes to payroll, and Duffy’s contract would allow them to add in a 2nd tier MLB starter on a good contract with four years of control.
Here’s the trade that I’m proposing:
Twins get: LHP Danny Duffy
Royals get: RHP Fernando Romero (#68 on MLB.com’s Top 100), LHP Lewis Thorpe, OF Lamonte Wade
The key return for Duffy here is Fernando Romero who would instantly become the Royals top prospect. Romero is a 23-year old righty who spent the entire 2017 season as a 22-year old in AA. Romero made 23 starts, threw 125 innings, and struck out 120 batters on his way to a 3.53 ERA and 2.93 FIP. Romero’s fastball sits in the mid-90’s with consistency and flashes 97-98 when he needs it. The slider currently grades out around 55 but it has improved as Romero has developed. There’s a chance that it could be an above average big league offering. The changeup is my favorite off-speed offering from Romero. It looks much like his fastball until it falls off the table. I’d give his changeup a 60 grade with the chance to improve further.
LHP Lewis Thorpe is an intriguing arm that I think KC ought to take a chance on. After not having pitched a single inning in 2015 and 2016, Thorpe returned to the mound in 2017 and made 16 starts (17 appearances) throwing 83 innings. He struck out 91 hitters in those 83 innings and appeared to be comfortable at High-A. Thorpe just turned 22 and still has plenty of time to mature as a starting pitcher.
OF Lamonte Wade is an intriguing bat. He spent the entire 2017 season as a 23-year old in AA and enjoyed a fair amount of success, owning a .292/.397/.408 slash line while stealing 9 bases and hitting 7 home runs. Wade may never be a star in the big leagues, but he reminds me a bit of Michael Gigliotti without the elite speed. Michael Gigliotti (and his elite speed) is one of my favorite prospects in the system, and it never hurts to have a back up plan (who is further along in the system).
The return for Minnesota is pretty obvious. They’re getting a top 30 pitcher in baseball when healthy who would immediately be one of their better starters. Duffy has blossomed into a bonafide fixture for a big league rotation, and could really give the Twins a boost heading into the season. He’s also got a 2.47 ERA against the Twins since 2014. I can’t tell you how much teams pay attention to that stuff, but not only could Duffy help the Twins rotation, but it may eliminate the Twins from having to face him 2-4 times per year as well.
Some teams don’t like trading in their own division, but Duffy’s contract expires before the Royals would be really good again anyways. Royals fans should not worry about intra-division trades when it comes to this, because the return will help both teams moving forward.
After it was announced that Eric Hosmer would be signing in San Diego, the next thing that came to my mind was the future of Danny Duffy. Duffy is one of my favorite players to dawn a Royals uniform. He competes like his life is dependent on it. He loves Kansas City. He loves the Royals and its fans. I don’t want to have to see him go, but I also know what’s best for this organization. Moving Duffy opens up a spot in the rotation for recently acquire Trevor Oaks, gives the Royals a little more financial freedom, and fully commits to a rebuild. Whether or not you like it, this trade would help the Royals.