We wrote about this yesterday when the rumors were floating that the Cincinnati Reds were in serious talks with Zach Duke, but he’s signing with them according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

As noted yesterday, there could be a way to maximize his production versus how he was used in the 2018 season by the Mariners and Twins.

As a left-handed reliever the first thing we all look for is how a guy performs against left-handed hitters. In 2018, Zach Duke was rather dominant. The sample size was small – he faced just 99 lefties – but he held them to a .220/.283/.319 line with 7 walks and 25 strikeouts. Things were not so strong against right-handed hitters. They hit .311/.403/.370 against him. Not much power, but he walked 14 batters with just 26 strikeouts in 141 plate appearances.

Last season he posted a 4.15 ERA between his stops in Seattle and Minnesota. The left-handed reliever also had a huge ground ball rate at 59.4%. Coupling him with Jared Hughes and Michael Lorenzen gives the Cincinnati Reds bullpen a trio of high ground ball rate guys to go to in just about any situation throughout the game.

The Reds efforts to get the pitching keep paying off as they have added plenty of depth to their rotation, and as a result their bullpen. This signing just keeps that going. Contract details are not yet available, but this post will be updated once they are.

12 Responses

  1. Navy Bernie

    It appears the Reds have decided much of the young, underperforming pitching talent needs to hone their trade back in the minor leagues. I think this is a very good sign, though few of them were really “rushed” to the major leagues, having these guys get pounded at GABP is not optimum.

  2. TurboBuckeye

    In other news, the Reds and the Marlins are in “super advanced double top secret” negotiations on JT Realmuto. Dodgers, San Diego, and rest of MLB “on the periphery.” Reds “making progress” but not as much as they were the last 12 times they made progress.

    • TurboBuckeye

      In all seriousness, would love to see them pickup JTR. In the meantime I like the Duke signing. Bullpen could use some improvement.

  3. Tom Mitsoff

    My guess would be Jackson Stephens. Mark Sheldon reports the signing is not official yet: https://www.mlb.com/reds/news/zach-duke-in-deal-with-reds/c-303442186

    If it is a major league deal, it further reinforces the message that this team is trying to win, and win now. The young pitchers have had four years to prove themselves, and only one has done so to the point where he is a lock for the rotation, and that is Luis Castillo.

    As was opined by Chad on today’s Redleg Nation podcast, Robert Stephenson is likely history. He’s out of options, and the addition of Duke may mean any spot on the 25-man roster for Stephenson is gone (barring injuries, of course). The Louisville rotation may be Tyler Mahle, Sal Romano, Lucas Sims, Cody Reed and Brandon Finnegan. Gentlemen, you five battle it out to determine who has first dibs when a starter is needed from the minors. You five also battle to prove to the front office who should be inserted into the 2020 rotation should Alex Wood and-or Tanner Roark leave after the season.

    There is no way that this entire group of young pitchers was ever going to make it big as an entire group. The way things are stacking up for 2019, the front office will get a good idea of who is at the top of the “class,” and who will not be part of the near future. In this respect, the “rebuild” will have been a success, in my opinion.

    In some ways, the Reds are mirroring the successful Cubs and Astros rebuilds. Both of those teams started to gather veteran players from outside the organization after a four-year period focused on developing from within. In year five, the Cubs went out and got Jon Lester and John Lackey. The Reds have gotten … well, you know the list.

  4. Tom Mitsoff

    I agree that Peraza’s improvement at the plate was somewhat overlooked. He had the most hits of any Red after the all-star break (74) and the fourth-most hits for the entire year of any player in the National League (182, one more than Scooter Gennett). His walk-to-strikeout ratio (29-to-75) was abysmal, but he showed he can hit. Maybe Turner Ward can help with the patience at the plate.

  5. JMO

    I would go


  6. Roger Garrett

    Agree but does this fit the thought process of our new pitching coach?Isn’t he the guy who prefers guys that throw gas for multiple innings?No reason why it won’t work and I hope it does but if he goes longer he will get exposed.We shall see and I echo almost everybody on this site in that it sure beats setting on our backside with no clue as t what may be needed.Go Reds.

  7. JayTheRed

    If we get Realmotu, I just have this feeling inside that we contend for at least the wild card. I don’t know what it is. Maybe its just that gut feeling of having hope for this team for the first time in a long time.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I agree. The everyday lineup would be perhaps the best in baseball offensively. Admittedly, it will likely be below average defensively, based on what we know about these players. (There are some who will argue that defense is less important these days with the number of strikeouts and home runs on the rise.) If the three newly acquired starters pitch just to their career averages, the Reds will have a shot to win every day.

  8. Reaganspad

    I agree WV. I think Stephensons lights go on this year. Did not realize that disco had an option left

  9. B

    Any chance the delay in announcing has to do with Reds trying to finalize another move preventing them from having to remove a player from the 40 man?

  10. Mason Red

    I hope all the moves made this offseason work but I can’t get too excited over a relief pitcher with an ERA over 4. I don’t think I’m being a downer. Just being realistic. We all will find out soon enough.