Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Duke of Zach

Various Twitter reports Monday had veteran lefty reliever Zach Duke in contract agreement with the Twins, pending a physical.

As Christmas gifts go, this one seems to me destined for the returns counter. Duke,who turns 35 in April, had an impressively quick return from Tommy John surgery last year. The results were not as impressive. His strikeout rate in particular plummeted.

To be fair, Duke has a solid resume as a LOOGY, a Left-handed One Out GuY. Once the Pirates abandoned the notion of making him a starter, he found a productive niche, or at least as productive as a lefty specialist gets. But I'm not so hot on guys who throw 58.2 innings in 74 appearances, as Duke did for Milwaukee in 2014.

As I contemplate the Twins depth chart among lefty relievers, Duke looks like Number Three at best. Certainly he's behind Taylor Rogers. In my mind -- but not necessarily the Twins' estimation -- he should be behind Gabriel Moya as well. Duke and Buddy Boshers? I'll give Duke the nod there, at least tentatively.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if Duke is getting a major league contract or a minor league deal with spring training invite. Either way, it does not figure to be a significant addition for the Twins.

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