Duchscherer will throw 60 pitches or so in a rookie-league game in Scottsdale, Ariz., tonight. He is working on short rest after pitching for Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday, but by moving up to tonight, he’s in line to go Tuesday at the Coliseum.
The A’s aren’t the only team interested in the right-hander’s recovery from March elbow surgery. Scouts have been at both his rehab appearances and more are expected tonight, including ones from the Tigers and Red Sox. Most contenders need pitching and Duchscherer can start and work as a set-up man. He’ll be a free agent and he is not expected to come back to Oakland.
At the trade deadline, I was pushing for the Yankees to try and acquire Duchscherer. Justin has had a very solid career as both a starter and reliever, as Buster Olney notes:
He has been often hurt in his career, but when Duchscherer is active and pitching, he usually fares pretty well, whether as a starter or a reliever. The 31-year-old has had four seasons of 55.2 or more innings, and his ERA has never been higher than 3.27 in those seasons. Twice he has made All-Star teams: once as a reliever, and once as a starting pitcher, most recently in 2008.
The Yankees have since acquired Chad Gaudin, who is a poor man’s version of Duchscherer. However, he is almost certainly better than Sergio Mitre, and having someone like Duch in the rotation would likely make the Yankees more comfortable in protecting Joba Chamberlain. For more on Duch’s abilities, let’s turn to Joe from RAB:
Duchscherer is a cut fastball (high 80s, low 90s), overhand curve, slider type pitcher. He strikes out a decent number of guys, around 8 per nine as a reliever and was at 6 per nine as a starter in 2008. He also doesn’t walk many people, 1.5 per nine as a reliever in 2006 and 2.2 per nine as a starter in 08. Even better, he keeps the ball in the park, allowing less than a homer per nine over most of his career. This profiles him as a solid option at both starter and reliever.
A guy who keeps the ball in the ballpark and keeps runners off base is a perfect fit for this Stadium, and would be a valuable bullpen piece in the postseason. As the linked MLBTR post notes, obtaining Duchscherer would not require much more than a moderate prospect and relief from the 1.06 million remaining on his contract. Should he clear waivers, the Yankees should jump on him. He would be a valuable addition to this club, and can fill the only discernible hole that they have at this point.
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