Monday, December 3, 2012

Nats re-sign Duke

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nationals have re-signed left-hander Zach Duke to a one-year, major-league contract, addressing one of their needs for an affordable long reliever.

The deal has not been announced yet, but a club source confirmed the signing.

Duke returns after a solid September cameo in Washington in which he posted a 1.32 ERA over eight appearances. He spent the majority of the season as a starter at Class AAA Syracuse, going 15-5 with a 3.51 ERA.

The 29-year-old, an All-Star with the Pirates in 2009, figures to serve as the long man in the Nationals' bullpen, taking over the role held by Tom Gorzelanny this season. Gorzelanny performed well in the role -- he boasted a 2.88 ERA in 45 games -- but the Nationals elected not to tender him a contract last week, worried his salary would jump to as high as $4 million through arbitration.

Terms on Duke's contract aren't yet known, but he'll make significantly less than Gorzelanny.

The Nationals are still looking for at least one more left-handed reliever after both Sean Burnett and Michael Gonzalez declared for free agency. They could re-sign either veteran, though the market for Burnett appears deep, with as many as eight clubs interested in his services.

Burnett could command a three-year contract similar to the one the Giants recently gave left-hander Jeremy Affeldt.

104 comments:

Alex Howard said...

This is such a joke of a signing, the bullpen is in absolute tatters at this point and you sign duke? are you kidding me? (in the words of f.p)

Drew said...

Good news. Duke was a strong addition and he can make a spot start if necessary.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Yep. He's the Gorzo replacement and a great clubhouse guy.

natsfan1a said...

Works for me. (Not that it matters. :-))

waddu eye no said...

i have to read slower. i saw "resign duke" and thought elijah dukes.

phew.

this is much better

Michael S said...

Wow Alex.

Kevin Booker said...

Great signing and move.

UnkyD said...

Careful, Alex... Sometimes, when you draw and shoot all at once like that, you can shoot your toe off...

Teddy Rochlis said...

Also signed bray seemed solid in 2011

MicheleS said...

Thanks you 1A, that was exactly the article i was looking for. Someday you can teach me how to index!


Reposting link in case anyone missed it:
Espi and switch hitting

MicheleS said...

And in defense of JayB.
1 - he has been an STH and has seen enough bad baseball to commment/complain about anything he wants to. Just like the rest of us.
2- main complaint last year was the bench, well, we ended up with the best bench last year, so that one goes away.
3 - at least he has always been civil.

MicheleS said...

And Pagan is with the Giants (4 for 40M). Looks like bourn's market is drying up even more.

Theophilus T. S. said...

The Nats signed Bray? That's good; I said a couple of weeks ago it would make sense to give him a flyer. Neither Duke nor Bray is going to win a Rolaids award but, along with the prospect they claimed from the Brewers a few days ago they are no longer completely nekkid from the left side in the bullpen.

JD said...


Bray makes a ton of sense. He may step into Burnett's role at a fraction of the cost. He was very solid in 2011 and seemed to be injured last year.

MicheleS said...

And with the Pagan signing, that Span deal is an absolute steal.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Repeat the refrain: Relievers are fungible; don't overpay.

JD said...


Eugene,

You are bang on. Last year Sean Burnett was a 1.1 WAR player in what was by far his best year. In 2011 Bill Bray was a 0.7 WAR player. You don't need to spend $18 mil on 0.4 games a year.

NatsJack in Florida said...

You nailed it Eugene.

JD said...


Wow; are the Giants overpaying their existing players or what? It's hard to criticize a team which has won 2 tittles in the past 3 years but it just goes to show you how lucky they were.

JD said...


Theo,

Exactly right and if this becomes a glaring problem you can always go get someone at the trade deadline.

NatsJack in Florida said...

JD.....that's because the Giants will be cash rich starting next season. The stadium bonds will be paid off and Zito comes off the books.

natsfan1a said...

You're welcome, Michele, and I'm with you on defense of JayB. :-)

NatsJack in Florida said...

My only beef with JayB is the broken record with some off the wall "Rizzo fail" mantra.

JD said...


NatsJack,

I get it. I just think you can do better at 4 * $10 mil than Angel Pagan.

JD said...


NatsJack,

I am with you 100%. The repeated Rizzo criticism after a 98 win season after a couple of play off loses (before the series ended) was a bit much.

Joe Seamhead said...

In 2011 I saw a live interview with Espinosa when the Nats brought up Steve Lombardozzi.Honestly, it affected my opinion of Danny in a quite negative way. I guess he didn't want to get Wally Pipped. Here was the gist of it:

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/08/30/danny-espinosa-is-not-happy-with-the-idea-of-giving-up-playing-time/

In the live interview he really came across pretty badly. Where as Steve Lombardozzi will seemingly do anything asked of him, from bunting, to hit behind the runner, or come of the bench cold and pinch hit, etc, Danny came across as it was all about him.

MicheleS said...

NatsJack, totally agree. I think that goes along with the folks that say the Lerners are cheap.

peric said...

I like Zach Duke, like him better than John Lannan and he has a better resume IMO. And JayB generally knows what he is talking about. Even if it sounds painful at times.

MicheleS said...

Eugene, excellent point.

We now have our Lefty Longman out of the Pen, Bray MIGHT be the LOOGY, would love it if we could get Sean back but only if the price is right.

Now all we need is the next Starting Pitcher and resolve the 1B situation

NatsJack in Florida said...

JD...re: Pagan.....totally agree on the overpay.

Now it looks like the Phillies are stuck paying Bourne or, heaven forbid, Shane Victorino.

peric said...

In the live interview he really came across pretty badly. Where as Steve Lombardozzi will seemingly do anything asked of him, from bunting, to hit behind the runner, or come of the bench cold and pinch hit, etc, Danny came across as it was all about him.

I completely DON'T understand how you can make such an assumption? Ryan Zimmerman absolutely refused to come out of the lineup and hopefully, you stayed informed and know the seriousness of the injury he suffered and the consequent surgery. He was a hole in the #3 spot for an awfully long time. Both Rick Ankiel and Bryce Harper were just as adamant about playing / not losing playing time (per Davey Johnson himself) and it may have been why Ankiel was released. He wouldn't have signed with the Nats in the first place in either year were he not pre-assured of being in the starting lineup? And there are others. Like Adam LaRoche who wasn't happy with the idea of being platooned with Mark DeRosa?

Danny was just being honest as were these others ... and Davey said he liked that attitude?

Again I wonder what baseball planet we are beaming from? Planet iZod?

MicheleS said...

NatsJack. Sweet! Tick Tock on the Phillies, they will keep getting OLDER and saddle themselves with bad contracts!

JB said...

Theoretical question: if getting a starting pitcher through trade is as likely as through FA, what would you trade for R.A. Dickey? He seems to genuinely be on the block.

I'm not suggesting the Nats are or should be going after him, but a Stras/Dickey/Gio series would be downright unfair to hitters. (RHP @96, then knuckleball at 80, then LHP at 94. Seriously.)

JB said...

(BTW, this "JB" is aka NatinBeantown. Though he's now in Ohio. Probably not worth keeping up with.)

peric said...

We now have our Lefty Longman out of the Pen, Bray MIGHT be the LOOGY, would love it if we could get Sean back but only if the price is right.

Actually, Duke was pretty effective in key late inning situations. So, he has more flexibility than did Gorzo and Lannan.

I just hope you are right Michelle I hope it doesn't resolve to either Patrick McCoy or Danny Rosenbaum. Albeit McCoy is having an outstanding winter.

MicheleS said...

JB.. I am guessing that the Mets are asking for a ton for RA. That's why no serious interest.

peric said...

2- main complaint last year was the bench, well, we ended up with the best bench last year, so that one goes away.

No, his main and major complaint, Michelle, has always been the dearth of an international presence and international signings. His biggest gripes are about Yuneksy Maya and Rafael Martin as the "big international signings" that Stan K. had promised and never delivered.

He shares this opinion, again, with none other than Brian Oliver (Nats Farm Authority), and Luke Erickson (NationalsProspects.com).

MicheleS said...

Sean news:
Amanda Comak‏@acomak

Right now, the #nats and LHP Sean Burnett aren't a fit, financially or length of deal, but Rizzo didn't close the door. Likes Burnett a lot.

peric said...

I'm not suggesting the Nats are or should be going after him, but a Stras/Dickey/Gio series would be downright unfair to hitters. (RHP @96, then knuckleball at 80, then LHP at 94. Seriously.)

They are also know to last a lot longer than a power pitcher ... a lot longer. Still, there is always the question of consistency. I think baseball would like to see him do it again or at least come close before taking the sort of risk he entails.

MicheleS said...

JB: and here is your answer on Dickey:
Jon Heyman‏@JonHeymanCBS
the #mets are right to ask for a lot for RA Dickey. hes the Freakin NL Cy Young winner. pardon the language.

Theophilus T. S. said...

It begins to look like the Phillies will be forced into overpaying for Bourn -- maybe by a lot.

On the other hand, the Phillies have a number of promising pitching prospects that they don't need -- immediately -- and one of them might entice Oakland to part w/ C. Crisp.

peric said...

@JamesWagnerWP:
Mike Rizzo said he'd like to add a second left-hander to the bullpen. Not dire; likes current righties ability to get lefties out.


Ask the same question of manager Davey Johnson and you will receive an entirely different answer if he is candid when answering. Johnson likes having a decent number of lefties at his disposal.

peric said...

@masnKolko: Rizzo says he has not had contact with #Orioles during the meetings as of yet. Morse has been thrown out as a possible fit for O's. #Nats

AND he won't ... that is unless FOX Sports takes MASN off his hands for a tidy sum ... :)

Joe Seamhead said...

peric, I still like Espinosa at 2B more then Lombo, but in the live interview I saw he came across as totally self-centered. That was my perception. It wasn't so much what he said, but how he said it. All I can tell you is my opinion of the young man didn't go up that day.
JB, I don't see the Nats giving up any prospects for someone as old as Dickey. It doesn't seem to be Rizzo's m.o. at this point in time.
With Pagan staying put, the Phillies CF options are getting thinner. Bourn, maybe, but don't discount the chance of Shane Victorino coming back to them.

NatsJack in Florida said...

My only argument on the lack of international signings is, well, it really ruined last season didn't it?

peric said...

@acomack: Rizzo reiterated the #nats search for a starting pitcher is simply guided by finding the most "impactful" guy they can.

@ZuckermanCSN: Rizzo says Nats still narrowing down list of starters, both free agents and trade targets. Says simply looking for best available.

Two different perspectives. I don't think Rizzo is going for the typical #5 starter he is looking top of the rotation, so I assume Amanda's quote is closer. Davey has one more year and Ted Lerner isn't getting any younger.

peric said...

It wasn't so much what he said, but how he said it. All I can tell you is my opinion of the young man didn't go up that day

Not many folks here were happy with the hole in #3 that the FOF was making pre-cortisone shot? Look based on what a candid Johnson said about Ankiel he was just as vocal, unhappy and frustrated with a bench role. He just didn't give an interview and answer that question.

peric said...

My only argument on the lack of international signings is, well, it really ruined last season didn't it?

That's all fine and well BUT look at the prospects after the top 5 in the Nats system. There is almost NO depth at this point. Its fairly close to alarming. And given the new CBA and the Nats specific rules Selig imposed? International is the only way to go until that too gets closed off as Puerto Rico was.

MicheleS said...

NatsJack, totally agree. Plus it is going to take quite a few years to clean up the Mess that Bowden/Rios made. Talk about having to start over from scratch.

MicheleS said...

Sweet!

DKnobler‏@DKnobler

Despite Nationals' fears, Rangers are not involved on LaRoche

peric said...

Pretty good one from Kilgore:

@AdamKilgoreWP: Pelfrey is a good scratch-off lottery ticket, maybe he works out where CMW did not

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

On my earlier post of bringing back previous players, the Nats are actually going yo try and do that.

MicheleS said...

Shark is playing in the WBC for the Netherlands. So far only David Wright and Joe Mauer for the US have been announced.

peric said...

So, now its former Nats "top prospect" Bill Bray, Patrick McCoy, and Danny Rosenbaum (a starter) after Zach Duke. Unless you count Fernando Abad.

peric said...

@NFA_Brian: Bray's return adds a former Expo

So, they lose one original Expo and gain another back.

MicheleS said...

Ghost, was it Komatsu that said how happy he was to be back as a Nat and it felt like coming home? Can't remember if it was him.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MicheleS, Texas is rumored to be on JUpton and Josh Hamilton but the Orioles have LaRoche at the top of their list.

peric said...

NatsJack, totally agree. Plus it is going to take quite a few years to clean up the Mess that Bowden/Rios made. Talk about having to start over from scratch.

While REAL experts who have been observing the Nats farm system since 2005 generally strongly DISAGREE with NatsJack. They do find the lack of depth that results alarming as do many of the objective, non-Natsfan generic baseball-wide blogs. So, Natsjack once again wrong.

peric said...

but the Orioles have LaRoche at the top of their list.

It would seem logical. Except Angelos and MASN are involved. Does LaRoche really want to go to a big maybe in the AL East for 3 to 4? Or can he be happy with a 20-25 million contract for 2 years? How much does LaRoche need to run his ranch in Kansas since he now has Davey buying all of his beef?

NatsJack in Florida said...

wrong about what? Does anybody know?

peric said...

In any case Boz was right about the Nats getting Zach Duke back in place of Gorzo in the spot starter/middle relief spot.

peric said...

wrong about what? Does anybody know?

Sounds like the Wrongway Peach Fuzz we all know and love.

peric said...

@jonmorosi: Mariners open to a reunion with Mike Morse, source says. Morse could be dealt if LaRoche re-signs.

Timothy Folk said...

I like the moves so far. A couple more solid additions and I'm fine. Players in late 20's with decent priced/short year contracts. Get It Done Mike!!

peric said...

Looking more and more like Natslady was right about losing Morse in the offseason. She may get her wish with the strongest defensive contingent the Nats have ever fielded.

JD said...


NatsJack,

Don't you know that Peric is the self proclaimed scorekeeper of who is right and who is wrong?

NatsJack in Florida said...

I thought you said Denard Span was Nyjer Morgan with character. If he is as you say, that's no defensive upgrade.

Fortuneately, Span is a massive improvement over T-Plush.

peric said...

Don't you know that Peric is the self proclaimed scorekeeper of who is right and who is wrong?

More mail from another Morse was a AAAA flounder named NatinBeanTown. Still think he's AAAA dude?

NatsJack in Florida said...

I know. I enjoy pointing out his comical side.

peric said...

Fortuneately, Span is a massive improvement over T-Plush.

I still prefer Corey Brown and Werth at lead-off. I still believe they need another left-handed power bat in the lineup. And Brown is a superlative CF defensively so there would be no loss defensively.

I believe it may turn out that Span is a downgrade from Brown. But, that remains to be seen. And Brown is still in the right age range for someone graduating from AAA.

JD said...


Peric,

You also said that the Nats wouldn't go for a speed slap hitter because Davie doesn't play that game. You were wrong about that which is fine unless you insist that you are always right and call other people names.

peric said...

You also said that the Nats wouldn't go for a speed slap hitter because Davie doesn't play that game.

True. I was wrong. Although as I tried to point out ... unlike a Bourn Span doesn't block a potential power bat from supplanting him in the lineup. Like a Brown or a Goodwin. Natsjack probably will say the jury is way out on them and Natsjack is not a fan of Brian Goodwin.

Nevertheless he doesn't block anyone and his salary won't preclude his ending up on the bench if someone comes along and proves they are better.

NatsJack in Florida said...

If you like old AAA graduates.

MicheleS said...

If Morse goes to SEA, guess what, he will be playing in AAAA ball.

JD said...


The tell tale sign with Brown is that he was not used much when he was called up and he was quickly returned to the minors. I too felt that his numbers suggested he be given a fuller shot but I think that the brass does not feel as positively about Cory Brown as we do.

peric said...

You were wrong about that which is fine unless you insist that you are always right and call other people names.

Oh, well then maybe you should learn to stop making fun of other folks opinions starting with JayB's? Its the same thing dude. You are the hypocritical pot calling the kettle black.

Should change your moniker to NatinKettleTown.

NatsJack in Florida said...

For the record, I AM a fan of Brian Goodwin. Just think he has some maturing to do that MAYBE Spring Training camp may bring about.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

If we signed Bill Bray, can Joey Eischen be far behind?

Still one of my favorite original Nats, if for nothing else but: "He can suck on it and he can like it," referring to Peter A.

peric said...

I too felt that his numbers suggested he be given a fuller shot but I think that the brass does not feel as positively about Cory Brown as we do.

I agree with that. But, I also remember Davey telling him that if he did what he Davey knew he could do in AAA they wouldn't need a CF. And I remember Davey saying he hadn't given up on Roger Bernadina yet. Both had good years.

BUT, neither fit the ancient Cardinals model of a lead-off hitter that seems to be wedged in Rizzo and some of the FO's mind. Not Davey's though as we have seen.

Its up to Brown (and perhaps Goodwin) to prove Rizzo wrong. Can they do it? I know they will get lots of encouragement from Davey which would not have happened with smart ball, small brain Riggleman.

I guess we'll see.

JD said...


Peric,

I don't believe in the concept of blocking someone. If the player is good enough he will crack the lineup somehow. I also don't believe in long contracts for aging players not because they are blocking someone but because they take up precious payroll when they are in decline.

Goodwin is clearly 1.5 to 2 years away if he even makes it; you don't hold a valuable position spot for him while you are trying to win now. Brown is real close to a make it or break it age.

MicheleS said...

Peric, please practice what you preach. As some have pointed out, when you start calling names, it defeats the points you make in your commentary.

MicheleS said...

Sunshine, what about Gary Majewski?

peric said...

If you like old AAA graduates.

You mean like Michael Morse who actually was older? Ha caught you!

natsfan1a said...

Speaking of humor, I enjoyed the Bullwinkle reference. :-)

JD said...


Peric,

I also completely agree with you about the sorry state of our farm system. I think the only sure fire big time prospects are: Rendon, Goodwin and Giolito.

I think this is less of a concern because the major league roster is very deep and very young. There won't be many open slots in the next 2 - 3 years but it behooves Rizzo to start making some smart trades to improve both the quality and the quantity in the pipeline.

peric said...

Peric, please practice what you preach. As some have pointed out, when you start calling names, it defeats the points you make in your commentary.

Okay, Michelle, since you ask nicely. But, they need to find another punching bag to go after other than JayB. I don't care if they go after me but the guy (JayB) seems very sincere.

natsfan1a said...

Speaking for myself, I always liked Tex. I'm pretty sure he's out of baseball, though. I believe that his ex-roomie, the Chief, is trying to make a comeback by way of Japan.

MicheleS said...

Sunshine, what about Gary Majewski?
December 03, 2012 6:16 PM

MicheleS said...

Peric, JayB is a big boy and defends himself quite honorably, I don't think he needs you to defend him.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Feel Wood is the only guy that has done that.

Doc said...

Glad to hear that you're a Goodwin fan, NatsJack!

He was off to a great start in the AFL, and Matt Williams thought he was a great prospect.

Anxious to see what he does at AA/AAA this year.

Just when I thought that Rizzo was going to out-fox himself over spending a few bucks on lefty relief, he goes and signs Billy Bray and Zach Duke. OK

But he still should sign Lefty!

natsfan1a said...

Well, er, um, you and I were defending him ourselves earlier. ;-)

MicheleS said...

Peric, JayB is a big boy and defends himself quite honorably, I don't think he needs you to defend him.
December 03, 2012 6:21 PM

MicheleS said...

JD, the current state of the Farm system is what it is because of the trades over the last few years. and as you say the guys on the MLB team are young and under control. Rizzo can spend the next few years rebuilding without making to many major moves. Look how long it took Rizzo to get the Farm system to #1 (prior to the Gio trade). Even with the recent trades, i bet we are still middle of the pack.

MicheleS said...

1A True, but some where using JayB as a crutch to start a name calling which we can all do without. Nip it in the bud and hopefully we don't have to have the principal come down and get on our case.

natsfan1a said...

hmm, maybe not totally out of baseball. Evidently, Tex was with the Sugar Land Skeeters last year. (Now, that's a team name. :-)

peric said...

There won't be many open slots in the next 2 - 3 years but it behooves Rizzo to start making some smart trades to improve both the quality and the quantity in the pipeline.

Unfortunately, I believe that is what a Michael Morse trade should garner.
New prospects to add to the system. They might also consider trading Bernadina since they now have both Corey Brown and Erik Komatsu capable of playing a bench role. These are cases where A+ level prospects with ceilings could be acquired.

I still believe a top of the rotation starter won't involve Morse (since the Rays signed Loney) but it may involve Espinosa. Unless they sign Grienke.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

MicheleS said...

Sunshine, what about Gary Majewski?

Oh, wow. I thought I had killed all those old brain cells. This is starting to get bad. I'm beginning to get FLop flashbacks.

Back then we were acquiring clubhouse cancers and overrated bums like Austin "The K is for Strikeout Looking" Kearns.

Now we're acquiring Denard Span and talking about trading for James Shields.

Plus, it was 70 degrees in December. What's not to like?

peric said...

1A True, but some where using JayB as a crutch to start a name calling which we can all do without.

Its okay for you but not others. Again hypocrisy raises its head per usual on the Natsinsider blog. It really should be renamed Nats H-pocrisy.

peric said...

Peric, JayB is a big boy and defends himself quite honorably, I don't think he needs you to defend him.

Uh NO Michelle. He usually gets slammed by multiple posters all at once who characterize him as a neg-anon (name calling right? right?) and other similar adjectives. And then he leaves.

Please get rid of the patronizing tone. It ill befits you.

natsfan1a said...

All this talk of ex-Nats puts me in mind of a "where are they now" post that Mark did at one point (unless I imagined that). Might be fun to have another one of those some day. You know, after the meetings, when Mark has nothing better to do. Speaking of things to do, it's time for dinner here. Later, folks.

MicheleS said...

Sunshine, the ex nats talk brought back the Memories of the Pitching Cattle Calls that Bowden used to do. Thankfully we are well beyond that.

peric said...

Back then we were acquiring clubhouse cancers and overrated bums like Austin "The K is for Strikeout Looking" Kearns.

Kearns is actually a good clubhouse guy. Unlike Elijah Dukes et al. And he had that thumb injury that required surgery. After that he produced some pretty decent offense. The problem is why are these injuries always have to be hidden? See Zimmerman, Ryan and the cortisone shots. I think Danny had one of those as well.

Theophilus T. S. said...

I don't think any conclusions can be drawn based on use of Brown in the latter part of 2012. In the LH bat pecking order he was behind Bernadina, Tracy and in some situations Lombardozzi. And, in a pennant race, there were no "throwaway" games (except when Jackson was pitching) in which to give him a start. There simply were very few opportunities.

I really think Bernadina is trade-worthy this year -- after his best season -- unless someone breaks a leg in ST. They traded for Span to play 155 games (although he's not being paid that way). And if everybody else stays healthy Bernadina's ABs will be cut in half. So I expect there'll be a spot for a LH-hitting spare OF.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

zach duke takes Girzy's spot

Bryan Holland said...

Smart move by Rizzo. Duke was lights out in AAA and he has now found his role in the bullpen and when those doubleheaders pop up he can spot start.

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