Could Yanks pursue Justin Duchscherer?


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.

Categories : Pitching


  1. whozat says:

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

  2. pat says:

    Paw this sounds like one helluva reach.

    • whozat says:

      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 says:

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

        • whozat says:

          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 says:

            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 says:

        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 says:

          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!

  3. I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

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

  4. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

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

  5. thebusiness says:

    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.


  6. Tom Zig says:

    Does he have an explosive fastball?

  7. Randy A. says:

    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…

  8. 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.

  9. JohnnyC says:

    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.

  10. GG says:

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

  11. Mike HC says:

    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.

  12. jsbrendog says:

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

    • 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 says:

        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.

  13. OmgZombies! says:

    Adult diapers are teh awesome

    Nothing like shitting yourself in front of everyone without them knowing

  14. keith says:

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

  15. pollo says:

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

  16. JeffG says:

    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.

  17. Ace says:

    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?

  18. John Duci says:

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

    • 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).

  19. gxpanos says:

    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.

  20. Jordan says:

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

  21. John Duci says:

    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 says:

      There’s no way.

    • Slu says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

        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 says:

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

    • Tank the Frank says:

      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 says:

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

    • Ed says:

      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.

  22. daneptizl says:

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

  23. Bo says:

    Why in the world would they want an injured pitcher?

  24. E says:

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

  25. adeel says:

    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.

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

  27. Scott says:

    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.

  28. Edwin Reeser says:

    Diapers can be used for children and adults as well. If you need some more information on adult diaper rash check out my site.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.