Although veteran left-hander Danny Duffy was a fairly notable deadline pickup by the Dodgers back in July, the soon-to-be 33-year-old didn’t throw a pitch in Los Angeles following the trade. Acquired while on the injured list due to a forearm strain, Duffy suffered a setback while rehabbing with L.A. and never made it back to a big league mound.
The Dodgers and Duffy were both rather quiet on his outlook. The left-hander now reveals to Andy McCullough of The Athletic that after initially fearing what would’ve been his second career Tommy John surgery, he instead required surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his left arm. That procedure, performed in October, comes with a months-long rehabilitation process. Duffy is targeting June for a return to a big league mound and expects to pitch out of the bullpen in 2022 before hopefully moving back into a rotation thereafter.
Of course, the team for which Duffy will throw remains entirely uncertain. The left-hander hit free agency for the first time in his career at season’s end and did not agree to terms with a club prior to the expiration of the 2016-21 collective bargaining agreement. It stands to reason that either the Dodgers, who traded for him, or the Royals, who drafted and developed him, would have interest in bringing him back.
Then again, Duffy has a lengthy track record of big league success and ought to be of interest to a variety of contenders and non-contenders alike on a short-term deal. Most clubs figure to be interested on a one-year deal, though as we saw with Kirby Yates earlier in the offseason, its feasible that a team could try to lure Duffy on a heavily backloaded two-year arrangement.
Duffy appeared in 13 games for the Royals this past season, all but one of them as a starting pitcher. In 61 frames he notched a tidy 2.51 ERA, albeit with less-favorable reviews from fielding-independent marks like FIP (3.40) and SIERA (4.14). This season’s 93.8 mph average heater was his best mark since 2016, while his 25.8% strikeout rate was a narrow career-high mark over 2016’s rate of 25.7%.