Could Yanks pursue Justin Duchscherer?

Whither Melky, again
Game 94: Sweep again

Save for the limited action he saw in the 2007 season, Justin Duchscherer has posted a good if not excellent ERA in each season he’s pitched with the Oakland A’s from 2003 through 2008. Yet fans outside the Bay Area aren’t necessarily aware of Duchscherer. He’s an under-the-radar type guy who quietly goes about his business, and goes about it well. Given his and the A’s current circumstances, he’s a prime candidate for a trade. There’s just one complication.

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.

Why would Billy Beane want to trade this seemingly good pitcher? Easy answers: The A’s are out of contention, and Duchscherer is a free agent after this season. He also makes $3.9 million this year, so Beane could save over a million by shipping him elsewhere. He might as well. What’s worth more to the A’s right now, a million bucks and change, or having Justin Duchscherer on the team? Plus, a team might be willing to give up some kind of talent, probably in the form of a player to be named later.

Wait — why would the A’s only get a player to be named later? Duchscherer is currently hurt, and hasn’t pitched all season because of elbow troubles. In fact, he hasn’t pitched since mid-August last year. He just began a rehab program, and should get into a minor league game over the next few days. Yet, the trade deadline is fast approaching. If the Yanks wanted Duke, they’d have to trade for him as an injured player. That might not be bad — I’m sure the Yanks would like him rehabbing at their own facilities. It does mean an added level of risk.

If the Yankees want to explore this option, they need to get it done before the deadline. Why? Because once the calendar flips to August, players need to clear waivers in order to be traded — or they need to be claimed by a team willing to trade for them. The Yankees, hopefully still atop the AL East in August, probably wouldn’t get a chance to put in a claim. Another team that could use some pitching, the Boston Red Sox, would likely put in a claim, blocking the Yankees and opening themselves up for a trade.

There are other teams too, of course, and for that reason Beane might hold on until August. There’s risk in that, too, in that he could face a team just looking to block a potential trade. Beane could then foist Duke and his remaining salary on said team, but then he’d get nothing in return — in other words, he would have been better off having accepted a PTBNL at the deadline.

The injury makes it a complicated situation, as does the hip injury which kept Duchscherer out of action for most of the 2007 season. Still, it’s a decent gamble. No, Duke is nowhere near Roy Halladay (even though Buster Olney tries to pump up Duke by making the comp in numbers), but he’s a solid option for both the pen and the rotation. In fact, he might be better suited as a starter. Just check out this tidbit:

Duchscherer’s call to the rotation is actually a very interesting story. The A’s had kept Justin in the ‘pen, thinking that his arthritic hip wouldn’t be able to stay healthy over a 150- 200-inning season. But Justin, who apparently has a slightly nervous/anxious personality, found that the uncertainty of a late-inning role aggravated his IBS–Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS is an extremely common disease of the gastro-intestinal system; it causes bloating, cramping, gas, and diarrhoea. It’s a twentieth-century problem, brought on by stress. And you can imagine that pitching the eighth inning for an MLB team would be kinda stressful. During the middle innings, Justin, sensing that he would have to take the mound, protect a lead, and not embarrass himself in front of a national audience, would have to leave the bench and run to the washroom.

So the A’s made him a starter, thinking that the certainty of knowing exactly when and where he was going to pitch would calm him down and ease his GI problems.

So the dude has a lot of problems — elbow, hips, IBS — but when he’s on he’s a quietly solid pitcher. Any team could use one of those players. The Yanks should certainly explore this option.

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Whither Melky, again
Game 94: Sweep again
  • whozat

    How much does it suck for Duke that the whole internet knows he gets the runs?

    • Evan NYC

      Well if they sign him, hopefully he doesn’t shit the bed too often. *rimshot*

      • Mister Delaware

        Not only that, IBS is very mental so knowing that other people know would only exacerbate the issue. Not cool, whoever made that public knowledge.

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

          Eh. I find certain people knowing isn’t a big deal. My closest friends have all been incredibly understanding about it.

          What’s embarrassing is when your mother goes and tells her manicurist about it. THAT makes you want to kill people.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Not only that, IBS is very mental so knowing that other people know would only exacerbate the issue. Not cool, whoever made that public knowledge.

          It was probably in Ken Macha’s tell-all memoir (co-written by Oakland Tribune columnist Marty Lurie), “The Athletic Years”. 2008, Doubleday, available at fine bookstores everywhere.

          • FL Yank

            ICWUDT

  • pat

    Paw this sounds like one helluva reach.

    • whozat

      care to elaborate?

      If Joe’s right and they can get him for a song, he’s a low-risk, medium upside kinda guy.

      • Evan NYC

        Agreed. I’m all for giving the guy a shot. Does he have a chance of pitching this year?

        • whozat

          Yes, that’s the whole point…he’s a FA after this season. Getting into a minor league game in the next few days means he has to be ready before the end of August, or shut back down.

          • Evan NYC

            2008 All Star who is a who pitched to a 2.54 ERA in 22 starts. He can be either a starter/reliever. I’m in.

      • pat

        Hmm, aside from the various hip and elbow problems that have kept him from throwing a pitch this entire year, the whole “diarrhea in stressful situations” thing is a bit of a worry. On the list of stressful places to play baseball I’m pretty sure Oakland is somewhere near the bottom and New York is somewhere near the top.

        On top of that, he hasn’t pitched all season. We’ve seen with many, many players it takes a long time to get back into game shape after being away for a while. If healthy, he would have to be on the 25-man by August 31 to be playoff eligible which would be a feat in itself. You can still be eligible if you’re on the DL. Again though, it would be very, very unlikely somebody who has not pitched from March-August to be ready for an AL bEast pennant race in September.

        I guess crazier things have happened, and you can’t argue with low risk high reward. I’m just saying in this particular case it seems to be low risk with an incredibly infinitesimal chance of reward. But hey, I’m the one visiting the blog not writing for it, what do I know? It’s JMHO

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          I think I am with you on this. I know that a replacement will be needed for Joba by the end of the year and in the playoffs. But would Duke be able to handle New York, in a pennant race or in the playoffs? I guess it all depends on what is sent over . If it’s Z-Mac then no way. Very little value for Duke, well I could be talked into him being worth an attempt.

          But I’d rather he wasn’t the reason the Yankees don’t stretch Hughes out to be a starter for the playoffs!

  • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

    He had a 0.995 WHIP in 141 innings in 2008. That is pretty awesome.

    • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

      Holy crap. The league batted .210/.268/.322 against him last year.

      • Bo

        Key phrase. last year….

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    He sounds like the perfect option for the pressure cooker that is New York City. Just buy him some Depends, and watch him go.

    • pollo

      or some huge ass diapers

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez
        • pollo

          Damn ok, I thought depends was some sort of antiacid

          The more you know

          • Marcus

            And knowing is half the battle.

    • Russell NY

      Haha, I like this comment.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona
      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          I yield to the Master once again.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            That’s why Alec Baldwin is the greatest actor ever.

        • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

          Thanks. Even though I’d seen it before, watching it made me laugh like a madman, I’m sure making my office-mates think I’ve lost my mind.

  • thebusiness

    Better than Mitre. Let’s Wang take his time returning. Let’s Hughes stay in the pen and gives them another option when Joba needs his starts skipped to keep the innings down.

    CC
    AJ
    Wang
    Joba/Duchsherer
    Pettitte

  • Tom Zig

    Does he have an explosive fastball?

    • Evan NYC

      Just expolsive diarrhoea.

      • Klemy

        ZING

  • Randy A.

    This would be a great trade for the Yankees this year because it would add depth to their starting rotation, then if he doesnt work out and the Yankees offer him arbitration, odds are he would command more than 4million a year on the open market so he would decline arbitration and most likely warrant Type B free agent status, giving the Yankees a sandwich round pick. If he accepts arbitration, he wouldnt be that bad of a pitcher to hold onto for somewhere around 4 or 5 million per year.

    I hope Cash does this…

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Heh.

    I have IBS.

    It’s not a whole lot of fun. I could go into details, but…

    I seriously feel for this guy. I mean, it’s good it’s not more serious like Crohn’s, but it still really, really fucking sucks.

    • RichYF

      TMI

    • pat

      At least with Crohn’s you can self medicate using things provided to you by mother earth.

  • JohnnyC

    Billy Beane’s not Neal Huntington. The PTBNL is likely to be someone fairly good. Still, Duke’s worth a shot…if he’s healthy.

  • GG

    Great idea, don’t see it happening, but I hope

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    I’m on board. More arms for the Empire, the better.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bzWSJG93P8 (SFW)

    • Tom Zig

      I still don’t see why the Yankees haven’t embraced being the “Evil Empire”

      • jon

        Enter Sandman is cool and all but how badass would it be for mo to come running out to the imperial march

  • Mike HC

    I mean, I guess. If we can get him for nothing and the Steinbrenner’s want to shell out the money for a long shot, then why not. I’m not expecting too much here.

  • jsbrendog

    what’re the realistic chances of this happening you think?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Pretty good, I’d say. We have so many arms, we can afford to give them a decent, cheap, minor league arm that won’t hurt us much. And the price obviously can’t be high, since he’s still hurt, hence the PTBNL.

      We’re basically giving them salary relief and a prospect return (that they’re not likely to get by letting him walk, because if they offer arb the hurt Duchsherer would probably take it). I’m thinking maybe like a Ryan Pope, Lance Pendleton, Zack Kroenke, Humberto Sanchez, something along those lines… Too little?

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        I could do that. But I wouldn’t want the Yankees acquiring Duke to prevent them from stretching Hughes out for the playoffs…..since you really can’t plan on getting anything out of Duke.

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

    Adult diapers are teh awesome

    Nothing like shitting yourself in front of everyone without them knowing

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      If they could only do something about the smell, they would be the perfect plan. :)

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I searched everywhere on the intertubes for the video of the In Living Color “Flatuscents” ad… nothing.

  • keith

    I thought you couldn’t trade DL’d players without the permission of the comissioner? Is that hard to get?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Nah, Bud Selig totally loves us.

  • pollo

    Speaking of explosive diarhheas, Aroldys Vizcaino is dropping douches all over Jamestown – 4ip oer 9Ks

  • JeffG

    I’d rather have our team go with a little surer bet with our needs and roster spots.

    With a lot of good pitchers they take a little time to rebound (if they even do) once coming off the DL. i.e. Dotel…

    In my opinion we should focus our energy on a Washburn, or a Bell.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Washburn may not be available, since the Mariners are still in it.

      In any event, I’d rather buy Duchsherer for pennies than Washburn or Heath Bell for dollars. We don’t need an overhaul, just a tweak.

  • Ace

    Wow. A lot of poop talk. You people are so immature. I actually like the idea of giving Duchscherer a chance if it costs nothing. Even if it means his bowels will run slowly down his leg and drip out of the bottom of his pants on the mound. The real question here is, can he use it to effectively doctor the ball?

    • jsbrendog

      poop

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        You come out with stink like that. Poop. You poopmouth, with poop out of your mouth.

    • pat

      Spitball? Hell no, this is the Shitball!

  • John Duci

    Justin Duchscherer is perfect for this team and he is exactly what we need to put us over the top.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Sadly, I can’t tell if this is serious or not. It really could go either way. You could legitimately think that we don’t need much and Duke is the final piece, you could think that we need a lot but your confident in Duke being excellent and coming back strong, or you could think Duke is crap and you’re being sarcastic and don’t think we need anything.

      And all three takes would be fairly sensible, depending on your various opinions of Duke, all opinions which are also sensible.

      So… yeah. I agree (with whichever take you were going with).

      • John Duci

        I was serious. I think Duke is really good and very underrated.

  • http://leegrantphotography.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/madmax.jpg gxpanos

    I love this idea. Knowing he has the poop thing will make him almost immediately my favorite player on the team. That shit will evoke some pathos, man. Hard not to root for that. Plus he shut the Yanks down the one time I saw him pitch last year and his peripherals are off the charts. It’s not like the Yanks can’t afford 3.9 mil, even if he never wins a game. Worth it.

  • http://twitter.com/wahbjo01 Jordan

    Red Sox strike back after losing first place with…Adam LaRoche. HAHAHA.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Meh, if they didn’t give up much, it’s a decent pickup. LaRoche allows them to keep one of Ortiz or Lowell on the bench, which is probably a good thing.

      It’s like our Hinske acquisition. As long as no real prospects are involved, you have to like the trade.

      • http://twitter.com/wahbjo01 Jordan

        Early reports are Yeiper Castillo and another player, but that’s unconfirmed.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Of course, if this is true, it’s a bad trade:

        http://twitter.com/shaftofpowe.....2780699392

        • Nady Nation

          Wow, they bring in Laroche AND ship out a non-caucasian in the process!

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Looks like Pittsburgh just found their new Riveraesque lights-out supercloser.

            /Gammons’d

            • Klemy

              Wow. From you I would expect more of a post like:

              “LaRoche is poised to become the top 3rd Baseman in the American League, barring injury. His bat and defense will surely make the Red Sox infield among the best in the league.

              For Diamond Cutters, I’m Peter Gammons.”

      • Nady Nation

        Plus, it abides by their “White players only” policy.

        • Tony

          I wish I could have placed a bet on them acquiring more white guys before the deadline.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          That too. The original trade was probably Nick Green for Andrew McCutchen, Lastings Milledge, and Ian Snell, and Theo was all “Hells no to that shit, we’re moving in the wrong direction!”

        • Joltin’ Joe

          And college kids like me taking big wig jobs (Theo…)

          That’s Boston for ya.

      • Joltin’ Joe

        This allows them to avoid bringing up Anderson or whoever in an emergency, but otherwise they just added a few mil for a lousy hitter… wOBA is terrible and defense is nothing great either. He’s been worth half a win according to FanGraphs.

        Hinske at least draws walks and fills a defensive need. Now only if they let him play at 3rd over Ransom…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Hinske at least draws walks and fills a defensive need.

          Frankly, for the Red Sox, a 1B/DH is currently a defensive need for that club.

    • Ace

      Depending on what they gave up that isn’t such a bad trade for them. Laroche typically has a strong 2nd half and he’s a left handed bat.

      • jsbrendog

        the red sox have acquired what should put them over the top in all star caliber first baseman adam laroche. Expect to see his introduction into the clubhouse bring new life to this team, especially, big papi, who will benefit from having such a high caliber bat in the lineup around him.With this move they are surely the favorite in the east once more

        /gammons’d

        • Tampa Yankee

          ietc

  • John Duci

    On MLBTR it says the Yanks are looking into acquiring Pavano again but the only thing stopping them is the players would be mad.. If the Yanks get Pavano again I dont know what I would do.

    • pat

      There’s no way.

    • Slu

      This would be madness. He hasn’t even been that good this year. You’ll read a lot of things like this: “He has been good, except for four starts.”

      Well, first off, those four starts did exist, so you can’t just ignore them. And secondly, four starts is 22% of his starts. I don’t getting killed 1 out of four times is helpful.

      Not to mention all the off the field stuff that his acquisition would bring. No thanks.

      • Joltin’ Joe

        To his credit he has been solid. His FIP is in the mid-3’s as far as I know. But even still it would be a clubhouse nightmare bringing him back.

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

        I thought so too. I was all ready to rail about his plus-5 ERA and such. But then I looked at his numbers, and his WHIP is decent for a 5th starter (1.37) and his last four starts have been great.

        Having said all that … no freakin’ way I want that idiot back in pinstripes.

    • Joltin’ Joe

      Flip him to Pit, they seem to like our pitchers, especially the ones that are not particularly good.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I like this plan. Let’s trade Marcos Vechonacci for Pavano and then trade Pavano to the Pirates for ANDY LaRoche.

        Advantage, Cashman.

    • Tank the Frank

      On MLBTR it says the Yanks are looking into acquiring Pavano again but the only thing stopping them is the players would be mad.

      That…and the fact that he’s not good at the whole pitching thing.

    • Bo

      Thats not even worth reporting. Theres no way they would go down that road.

    • Ed

      On MLBTR it says the Yanks are looking into acquiring Pavano again but the only thing stopping them is the players would be mad..

      No it doesn’t. It says that the Yankees aren’t even considering him. They know the team would go crazy if they did, so they aren’t even going to bother scouting him.

  • daneptizl

    Not that it’s all about velocity, but I assumed his fastball would average about 88-89… then Fangraphs tells me its 86.

  • Bo

    Why in the world would they want an injured pitcher?

  • E

    What kind of elbow injury/surgery are we talking about?

  • adeel

    dushcerer is underrated? geez I remember when this kid came up he was gonna be this hof maddux type…..That goes to show you, never bliever the hype.

    If I am right, he is like what we envisioned IPK to be one day…. I would defeinitely pursue him…. even in the offseason it is worth it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/elgranramon BronxBombers585

    Hell noo..
    Pavano on the yanks again?
    (I think I just threw up in my mouth a bit)

  • Scott

    Ummm you’re suggesting the Yankees – in the middle of an intense playoff race in the most media-crazy city in the entire universe – try to get a guy who poops himself in any high pressure situation? Thanks but no thanks…This sounds like another Flash Gordon, only messier. If you can’t take the heat, don’t even walk into the kitchen.

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