According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Kansas City Royals are receiving trade interest and are listening on pitcher Danny Duffy. The Royals seem to be at a crossroads this winter on whether they should hold their assets for next season or retool for years ahead. With Duffy, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Wade Davis, and Lorenzo Cain all going to become free agents in 2017, it will be impossible for the Royals to keep them all.
#Royals gauging trade interest in Danny Duffy, who could fit for a contender (like Houston) that has been reluctant to meet price on Sale.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 5, 2016
Duffy, 27, is coming off a career year in his six years with the Royals, posting a 12-3 record with a career high in innings and strikeouts. He appeared in 42 games and was moved back into the rotation after finding his niche while in the bullpen.
As Morosi speculated, Duffy could become an option for teams that are reluctant to meet the asking price for Chris Sale. Teams like the Houston Astros, the Atlanta Braves, and the Washington Nationals are all looking for starting pitching and would not have to move an Alex Bregman, Dansby Swanson, or Trea Turner to acquire Duffy. With Rich Hill signing back with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Duffy becomes one of the top left-handers on the free agent or trade market that can come at a more reasonable price.
Duffy has had elbow problems in the past, undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2012. It could be wise of the Royals to move him now and sell high before any injury does arise which would eliminate the option of moving him. Duffy also announced that he will pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic this upcoming March. For teams that would consider Duffy, there also is no long-term commitment to him as he is entering the final year of his contract.
The Royals are expected to sell at the Winter Meetings and with Duffy coming off the best season of his career, it appears they think it is worth listening.