Should the Royals move Danny Duffy to the bullpen?

With the Royals off to a sluggish start to the 2018 season, our picks for the Royals aren’t exactly looking too good right now.

That said, Lucas Duda has been placed on the DL and Jorge Soler had a small injury with his ribs, but that doesn’t excuse the Royals’ bad start thus far to the season because the Royals, now 13-30 on the season, have been bad even with Duda and Soler in the lineup.

Jakob Junis has been the Royal’s best starting pitcher by far on the young season. Thus far, he’s got 4 wins and has an Earned Run Average (ERA) of 3.53 while striking out 45 batters. In the minds of many Royals fans, the “ace” for the team would not have been Junis, but rather it would have been Danny Duffy.

Duffy has been an above average pitcher during his tenure in Kansas City, and he has even been one of my favorite pitchers due to his swagger not only on the field, but with his twitter account as well. However Duffy has not been his usual self thus far on the young season.

Duffy is 1-5 on the season with an ERA over 6.00. Duffy’s career ERA is 3.89, which is not stellar but is certainly something the struggling Royals would like to have right now. But, considering his bad start, should the Royals consider moving him to the bullpen?

The obvious follow up question to that would be this: who would the Royals replace him with in the rotation? Nate Karns is still out with an injury, and there aren’t many people in the bullpen, if any at all, that one would move into the rotation because being a bullpen pitcher is much easier than being a starting pitcher, and collectively the bullpen has not been good this far for the Royals (although they’ve been decent of late). That is a question that I am not going to pretend to know the answer to, because I don’t, and at this point Ned Yost may not even have that answer either.

If the Royals are going to move Duffy to the bullpen, I think it has to be at some point this season, preferably before the trade deadline, in my opinion, because that would give Duffy plenty of time to adjust to the new role while the season still has plenty of games remaining on the schedule. At this point, Duffy is not a valuable commodity on the trade market as a starting pitcher, and while I don’t think the Royals should trade him, his value could increase if he were to make the move to the bullpen.

Countless times we have seen starting pitchers moved to the bullpen in order to resurrect their careers, none more memorable to us here in Kansas City than Wade Davis, who is still my favorite relief pitcher in the game to this date.

With several of the Royals top prospects lighting up the minors, like OF Khalil Lee with the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals Single-A affiliate) and 1B Nick Pratto with the Lexington Legends (Royal’s other Single A affiliate), people are throwing around the idea that the Royals could begin to compete in 2021 or 2022.

If the Royals are to start competing again around 2021 or 2022, then I believe it would be wise for the Royals to start figuring out where each person belongs in that plan to begin competing.  Whether GM Dayton Moore believes Duffy belongs in the rotation as the anchor to the rotation in the future or believes that Duffy should be in the bullpen, I fully trust Dayton Moore to make the correct decision because he has demonstrated time after time again that he knows what he is doing with the Royals.

My personal belief is that Duffy should stay in the rotation for now, because all pitchers go through somewhat of a rough patch in the long season, Duffy’s might just be to start the season. Plus we aren’t even through the end of May yet, let’s not overreact. However, I am open to the idea of Duffy moving to the bullpen if it means the Royals will have future success.

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