Pirates Designate Duke, LaRoche, Young

The Pirates have designated Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young for assignment, according to a team press release.  The moves do not come as a surprise, as MLBTR pegged all three as non-tender candidates earlier this month.

Following a season where he posted a 5.72 ERA in 29 starts, Duke was seen as a non-tender candidate given that he could've earned a $5MM salary through arbitration this winter.  In six seasons in Pittsburgh, Duke delivered a 4.54 ERA in 160 games (all but one of them a start) with a 1.92 K/BB ratio and a 4.7 K/9 rate.  Duke was an All-Star in 2009, has a couple of solid seasons under his belt and is left-handed, so it's likely he'll find work at the back end of another team's rotation.  MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports that the Pirates tried to negotiate a new deal with Duke and also explored trade possibilities before finally designating the southpaw.

LaRoche joined the Pirates as part of the big Manny Ramirez/Jason Bay three-team deal in July 2008.  He was Pittsburgh's regular third baseman in 2009 but became expendable after the Bucs called up Pedro Alvarez to man the hot corner.  Once seen as a promising infielder in the Dodgers organization (he was ranked 19th among all major league prospects by Baseball America in both 2006 and 2007), LaRoche has a .224/.304/.338 line in 1228 career plate appearances with L.A. and Pittsburgh.

Young is another former Dodger prospect who joined the Bucs in April 2009.  Young has an impressive career OPS of .876 in eight minor league seasons, but has never been able to find regular playing time at the major league level.  His line in two seasons with the Pirates: .255/.312/.393 in 595 plate appearances, with time spent at second base, third base, and the outfield corners.


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