Recently, we discussed a Sahadev Sharma nugget on the Chicago Cubs pursuing lefty Danny Duffy after the lockout ends. To be sure, the Cubs very well may still do that, but one of the big questions we had about what he could be in 2022 just got answered. It wasn’t a great answer.
The elbow injury that shut Duffy, 32, down at midseason and never allowed him to return did, after all, wind up requiring surgery:
A little update for all the #Duffswag heads out there. Danny Duffy underwent flexor tendon surgery in October but didn’t need Tommy John. He figures he’ll be ready to pitch by June, likely as a reliever in 2022.https://t.co/VrECMwb4mJ
— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) December 8, 2021
The return from surgery on the flexor tendon is a little less onerous than surgery on the UCL (i.e., Tommy John surgery), so Duffy is expected to be ramping up by March. That would put him in line to return to the big league mound by June, where he figures to pitch out of the bullpen (with the hopes of returning to the rotation in 2023 and beyond).
You would think now he’s in line for one of those modest one-year deals that come with a healthy team option for 2023. The Cubs presumably would still want to be in on Duffy, though they couldn’t realistically count on him as a hard-throwing member of the rotation for any part of next year – he’d just have to be a lottery ticket in the bullpen. Then, if you’ve got an option for 2023, you can figure out what he can contribute from there.
That is all to say, although pursuing Duffy remains intriguing even after the surgery, it doesn’t necessarily address the Cubs’ need in the rotation for a different kind of arm (i.e., some velocity).