The Rays have been surprisingly linked to every big-name trade target, Max Scherzer included, but can they actually get those deals done? It is yet to be seen. However, if they can’t, we’d like to see them go after Danny Duffy.
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Why Danny Duffy?
I will start by saying this, I have thought since May Danny Duffy and the Rays would be a perfect match. But why you ask? He’s done it all.
So far in 2021 Duffy is pitching to a 2.51 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 182 ERA+, 2.1 WAR, and 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
Danny Duffy has been a starter most of his career, but he has pitched out of the bullpen as well. He can be a long reliever, starter, left-handed specialist, really anything you need. But what I like most about Duffy, he’s a veteran and a champion.
Duffy was a member of the 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. Duffy pitched in three games during the World Series, all out of the pen. It’s not easy to find someone with that experience, at the price the Rays could likely get him at.
What it would take to get Danny Duffy?
I mentioned it wouldn’t take a ton to get Danny Duffy, and what I mean by that is this. It wouldn’t take a major prospect to get Duffy. Although the Rays would lose two young and talented players, it wouldn’t take a top-20 prospect.
However, before we talk about our mock trade, this should be known. Danny Duffy is currently on the IL with a Left flexor strain. This will keep Duffy out until likely September. But that works in the Rays favor. How? Let me explain.
Many teams who need pitching are looking to acquire arms to keep the race right now, the Rays don’t need that. The Rays can play the long game. This team is good enough to stay right where they are, and having someone like Duffy come back in September would be massive.
Now, here’s a trade we think could get Duffy to St. Pete:
Nathan Lukes is a name you don’t hear much when it comes to Rays prospects, but this guy is legit. Lukes is slashing .320/.375/.506 with four homers, 36 RBIs, and a .881 OPS for Triple-A Durham.
The 27-year-old outfielder is stuck with the Rays right now. The Rays don’t have room in their outfield right now, and Lukes is more than ready to play in the MLB. This is why the Royals should be interesting in him.
The Royals need help in the outfield, Lukes can give them that.
The second player heading to KC is Angel Felipe. Felipe is a 23-year-old closer for the Charleston River Dogs, the Rays Low-A club. In 20 games, Felipe is pitching to a 1.00 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, with 7 saves. Felipe also has 44 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched.
If the Rays could get this deal done, it would be just one of many over the years with the Royals
Is Danny Duffy worth the risk?
I think so, but there is an obvious risk. In a worst-case scenario, Duffy does not return in 2021 and leaves via free agency after the season. In that scenario, the Rays would lose Lukes and Felipe for nothing.
However, a more likely scenario, Duffy comes back in September and helps this team reach the postseason, and more. When you can get someone, who is a do-it-all pitcher, like Duffy is, you got to go for it.