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  1. I feel like a change in coaching could help Duke as well. A pitching coach who could really help Duke get a feel for pitching off his off-speed stuff could probably increase his K numbers a little, and a drop to average in GB rate and a rise to average in K rate could make Duke a slightly better than league average starter.

    Comment by deadpool — November 22, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  2. It will be interesting if Duke lands on a team that a) has a decent D, b) a sizeable home park, and c) an offense that can score some runs. I’d think as a back-end option in SD, SF, or LA he’d do ok.

    Comment by Mark — November 22, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

  3. At $2 million or so, gambling on a rebound might make sense. My understanding is that Pittsburgh has already tried to bring Duke back at a reduced rate, but there’s been no interest. A concern has to be that the fastball averaged 1.4 mph slower in 2010, the gap between the change and the fastball narrowed, and fewer pitches found the strike zone. Were the home runs bad luck or bad pitches? My money would not be on bad luck right now.

    Comment by Roberto! — November 22, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

  4. Yeah, I think he makes a lot of sense for the Padres

    Comment by Josh G — November 22, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

  5. I wonder if the M’s will show some interest too. Safeco’s a pretty good home for a fringe-y LHP.

    Comment by Justin Bailey — November 22, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

  6. It is true that poor infield defense (and probably poor luck) contributed towards such a high BABIP. However, for Duke’s career he is at .325. Although there is little spread in the true talent for BABIP, there is nonetheless *some* talent, and Duke appears to be below average in this regard for MLB pitchers.

    That said, the defense behind him for his career was not random (his home park was also not random), and Duke hasn’t had a lot of strong defenders aside from Jack Wilson through his career.

    As a Pirate fan, I would welcome Duke back for the right price, but I think the arbitration process is all but guaranteed to make that price too high.

    Comment by mickeyg13 — November 22, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

  7. It will be interesting if Duke lands on a team that a) has a decent D, b) a sizeable home park, and c) an offense that can score some runs.

    Is their ANY pitcher that would not do better in that situation?

    Frankly, if a pitcher is depending on great defense, a big park, and a lot of run support in order to be successful … the team shouldn’t depend on that pitcher.

    Given the number of RHB’s in the league, a LHP needs to have good stuff in order to be a successful starter. He doesn’t.

    At this point of his career, the optimism for him regaining his previous best is likely less than the likelihood that he blocks a young pitcher from developing.

    Duke does not appear to be a 3-4 WAR SP that just needs the “right fit”. He looks like a guy that is losing it, and turning into a homer thrower.

    Lots of statistical gymnastics required in order to make Duke look “not horrific”. I would not be so concerned with the 2M/y, as I would occupying the roster spot and taking up IP that could go to a younger pitcher with a higher cieling that needs some MLB experience.

    The one thing that has me intersted is that pitching in PIT year-after-year has to be a motivation killer. While the mental can only compensate so much, a change of scenery and a mentor (or even someone to compete with) might be welcome additions for Duke.

    Some team will likely add him simply because of the hand he throws with. Although running him out there instead of a similarly talented RHP might be doing the team a dis-service.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — November 22, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

  8. it seems like nonsense to talk about home run fly ball rates without subtracting the no doubters.. because sometimes its not bad luck that they have more homers per flyball.. maybe some guys just throw more pitches batters drool over

    Comment by willlinn — November 22, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

  9. A left hander with decent control?

    Don’t those guys usually pitch into their 40’s?

    So what if he is a Pirates cast off. That team hasn’t exactly been known for good decisions the last couple of decades.

    Comment by MikeS — November 22, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

  10. Duke + Dave Duncan + Busch Field = success?

    Duke can easily join the list of castoffs who appear to be on the downside of the career, whether it be talent, age, or the league figured them out, who have resurrected their career with Duncan’s tutelage.

    AND, it also can benefit the Cardinals. How, you say? Aside from 1A and 1B (Carpenter and Wainwright) who do they have? (ok, they got a decent rookie, but does a good rookie season translate to a good sophomore season?, no.. ever hear of the sophomore slump?)

    Comment by Cidron — November 22, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  11. He’s only 28, can sometimes pitch a little better than average, and hes left handed.

    He’ll get 1y 4mm…

    Comment by Justin — November 22, 2010 @ 11:55 pm

  12. If SF could orchestrate a dynamic trade centered around J. Sanchez, Duke could fill the 5 spot.

    Think Kirk Reuter.

    Comment by Scout Finch — November 23, 2010 @ 12:09 am

  13. Can’t be much worse than Barry Zito excluding Zeet’s first half of 2010.

    Comment by Scout Finch — November 23, 2010 @ 1:53 am

  14. what happens to andy laroche? he went from blue chip prospect to total zero . . .

    Comment by Dudley — November 23, 2010 @ 9:35 am

  15. “FIP and xFIP don’t tell the whole story, but in Duke’s case there isn’t a great discrepancy between his career ERA (4.54) and xFIP (4.40), so his xFIP for 2010 is probably a better representation of his true talent”

    Roberto is on to something, I think, when he looks at Duke’s stuff, as the actual numbers PitchFx give us point to why we really should be cautious with the “story” xFIP tells us. That closing gap between FB and CH velocity goes from 6.8 to 6.7, 6.5, and 6.3, an already small difference getting smaller still, made all the more important because that fastball on its own has always been a liability. And what really compounds things is that his change really stops moving, losing an inch or more in each direction in just the last year (and more still than years before that).

    In other words, an already weak arsenal may be — at a fundamental level — getting worse.

    Comment by William — November 23, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  16. Here’s the problem with trying to dismiss Duke as lucky…

    (Like Willlinn was hinting at)

    Those fly ball rates that are being considered “unlucky” where given up in some of the least homer friendly parks in the league according to (if you go by ESPN’s “Park Factors”, PNC is the 5th hardest in all of MLB to hit HRs).

    PNC Park (where Duke gave up 12) averaged 1.6HR/gm last year putting it in the lower half of all NL parks. There were 5 parks that has a lower rate of HR/gm and in his starts in those 5 stadiums, he gave up another 6 HRs in 4 starts. That’s 16 of his 25 HRs allowed in the 5/6 hardest places in the NL to hit HRs.

    Using again as a reference, there were 5 HRs that Duke gave up that were considered “just enough”. But if you look at those HRs, you will see that 3/5 still carried over 400 ft and the other two were both over 387! Duke’s 12 HRs given up at PNC Park averaged an astounding 408.33 ft per!

    While some might consider his fly ball rate unlucky, when you are getting tagged like that, it isn’t luck that is killing you, it’s the meatball that you just lobbed down the pipe.

    Comment by Aristotle — November 23, 2010 @ 11:51 am

  17. Here’s the thing, Duncan has not been all that successful with LHPs.

    His primary means is to get guys to pound the zone with strikes that move away from the barrel (into the hands) of RHBs.

    For a LHP that would mean a cutter. It would also require Duke to have very good control, and I don’t think he does.

    Duncan is very good with a certain type of pitcher (Pineiro, Suppan, Williams, Looper, etc) … generally mechanically sound, strike throwing righties that can get some movement and never had much velocity to sacrifice.

    The Cardinals have Lohse, Penny, Garcia as their 3, 4, 5. 2 of the 3 were injured for most of the year.

    Brendan Ryan is only so good at short. He cannot save Zach Duke … and neither can Dave Duncan. IMO.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — November 23, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  18. “Brendan Ryan is only so good at short.”

    And by “so good” you mean “should be relegated to a bench role.”

    I know you were just talking about his defense…I’m just making the larger point that the Cards will struggle to succeed with little-to-no-to-less-than-no offensive contributions from 2B, SS, bringing in Feliz’s corpse, inexplicably sitting Rasmus, etc etc.

    Run prevention is useful, but run scoring has its moments, too.

    Comment by Jason B — November 23, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

  19. I got this one, yo. Let me preach on it.

    Comment by Ruben Studdard — November 23, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

  20. Well, looks like the 10 day period after Zach Duke’s DFA paid off for the Pirates(rather than a non-tender later), as they found a trading partner, so Duke won’t be released to become a free agent after all.

    The Arizona Diamondbacks just acquired Duke from Pittsburgh in exchange for a PTBNL. The player probably won’t be anything of significance, but even getting back organizational filler is better than a straight non-tender. Kudos to Huntington on that.

    Comment by Jim — November 24, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

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    Comment by Carmelo Scarduzio — November 12, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

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