The Cubs are still seeking starting pitching, as you know. Their No. 1 target is supposedly free agent Alex Cobb, but there are a few pitchers they have been connected to in rumors, notably the Rays’ Chris Archer.
The Chicago Cubs have expressed interest in Kansas City Royals left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy, a league source tells FanRag Sports.
Another player the Cubs are said to like is left-handed pitcher Scott Alexander, the source added.
Kansas City is characterized by one source as “listening” on Duffy, as well as closer Kelvin Herrera, who is said to also be garnering trade interest.
I had heard of the Cubs’ interest in both those lefthanders — Alexander and Duffy — around trading-deadline time the last two seasons, as well as last offseason.
Duffy has had a history of injuries and, according to the article, had surgery after the 2017 season ended to remove a “loose body” from his elbow. Presumably, the Cubs would have done due diligence on this before making any sort of trade offer.
Duffy turns 28 next week. He has never made 30 starts in a season, partly due to injuries, partly due to ineffectiveness. He had a pretty good season in 2017: 24 starts, 3.81 ERA, 1.257 WHIP, 3.2 bWAR. That followed a 4.1 bWAR season in 2016. He’s scheduled to make $14 million in 2018 and has three further years under contract after that for a total of $46 million, thus essentially the Cubs would be taking on a four-year, $60 million obligation that would likely be similar to the deal they’d have to give Cobb. In this case I suspect the Royals would like to get out from under the contract and the Cubs might not have to give much back in terms of prospects.
Scott Alexander was an effective reliever in 2017, though his walk rate (3.3) was a bit high. He had a 2.48 ERA and 1.304 WHIP in 58 appearances and posted 2.2 bWAR. Alexander isn’t arb-eligible until 2020, so he’d be an inexpensive addition to the pen.
I’d certainly be inclined to deal for both of those pitchers, depending on what has to go back to Kansas City. Assuming the Cubs would have to take on Duffy’s entire contract, would you do it?