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braves-still-interested-in-duffy | December | 2007 Articles

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Braves Still Interested in Duffy?

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Last year at this time, John Schuerholz was pushing hard for the inclusion of 27-year old Pirates center fielder Chris Duffy in the Adam LaRoche deal. The Pittsburgh front office said no and Schuerholz settled for minor league shortstop Brent Lillibridge (in retrospect, aren't we thankful for that one?). Now with a center field vacancy and three rookies set to compete for the job next spring, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is speculating that there might still be some interest.
Under normal conditions, there would be little if any interest among other teams in trading for Duffy, but these are not normal. The Atlanta Braves had pressed hard for Duffy to be included in the Adam LaRoche trade last spring, only to settle for an exchange of prospects. They just lost Andruw Jones through free agency and have no internal replacement ready.
Duffy put in another mediocre year this past season. In 70 games with the big club, the speedy outfielder hit only .249. Looks bad, right? There were a few extenuating circumstances however. In the middle of June, Duffy sprained his hamstring. After returning late that month, Duffy severely sprained his ankle, leading to a DL trip. While on a rehab assignment, he complained of shoulder pain and eventually had to have surgery, which ended his season. Duffy's major league numbers haven't been all that impressive aside from his rookie season in which he hit .341. Unlike both Jordan Schafer and Gregor Blanco, Duffy has major league experience and unlike Josh Anderson, he has had significant success in the upper minors. He's sort of like a super-Josh Anderson. He's got the speed, he's left-handed, and he is primarily a slap hitter; however, Duffy brings better plate discipline, defense, and a tad more power to the table. Right now his value is in the drain. Dave Littlefield, the ex-Pirates GM, held onto that rookie campaign when his value was high and looking back, that was one of many mistakes that led to his firing. Duffy could probably be had for a bench player or lower level minor leaguer at this point and I really see no downside in it. He's cheap, young, and really has no commitment to him. Seems like a deal that could be all upside with no real downside to speak of.
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