Danny Duffy has landed back on the IL with a left flexor strain, just six appearances and 19.1 innings after being activated from the IL for missing a month-and-a-half with…a left forearm flexor strain.
That Duffy has made his way back to the injured list is of no real shock – it’s been a common occurrence throughout his nine-year career, it’s that this IL stint comes after Duffy was placed back on the mound following an extended absence with no rehab assignment, and immediately into a starting role.
The move looks to be needed as Duffy has seen a dramatic decrease in velocity since his first start after being activated on June 23rd.
What this IL stint does, however, is call into question the decision to activate Duffy in June without a rehab assignment. The highest paid pitcher on the roster, with a history of injuries and previous Tommy John surgery, missed six weeks with a forearm strain and he was inserted back into the rotation in Yankee Stadium without seeing game-action prior. The needs of the team and lack of qualified options aside, that would seem to be an indictment on the organization as a whole to place its most valuable pitching commodity at risk like that.
And now more missed time on the IL and perhaps the worst spot in the calendar to occur if you’re the Royals. Duffy has widely been the subject of trade rumors, and although he can veto any trade scenario due to his 10-and-5 rights, having the option to shop a healthy left-handed starter with Duffy’s experience would have been attractive to both the Royals and the acquiring team. That would seem to be off the table now.
Duffy’s had a quality season, overall, despite the missed time. His 2.51 ERA and 3.40 FIP over 61 innings has been one of the lone bright spots with the Royals pitching this year.
But now, with this transaction back to the IL today, it should be fair to ask that while the minor league system is improving so much this season, why is it the major league portion of the organization is such a mess.