Things did not go smoothly for Matt Duffy in Tampa Bay.
The former Giants third baseman, who was traded in a surprise deal for left-handed pitcher Matt Moore in 2016, was designated for assignment by the Rays on Thursday. Tampa Bay elected to move on from the 28 year old instead of paying the projected $2.9 million he’d have made in arbitration for next season.
Duffy played in just 46 games while spending most of the season on the injured list with a strained hamstring. This was a consistent theme for Duffy, who missed all of 2017 and part of 2016 after being acquired in the deal, with a heel issue. He played just 199 of a possible 544 games with the Rays, posting a slash line of .284/.351/.357 during that span.
Before the controversial trade, Duffy was a fan favorite and one of the most promising young players on the Giants, finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2015.
The Giants aren’t really in the market for another right handed bat in the infield, but Duffy is versatile defensively, something we know Farhan Zaidi values. Could a reunion be in the cards? According to Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow who called Duffy one of his “all-time favorite guys,” it should definitely be considered.
“He’s a perfect fit for a number of reasons,” Kruk began. “The one roll of the dice you have with him is can you keep him healthy? That’s the one thing he’s not been able to do is stay on the field. That becomes significant when you amass a certain amount of time, and all of the sudden you become arbitration eligible, it becomes a financial decision where you have to let a guy go like that because you can’t pay him the money that you would want to pay him because he can’t stay on the field.
“It’s an opportunity for the Giants to make that phone call, and I would love to see him back in a Giants uniform.”
Kruk believes part of Duffy’s value is that he’s not just able to play three infield positions, but all three outfield ones as well.
“He’s got the body type too where he’s not going to thicken up and he’s going to be able to play and be that super utility player. As athletic as he is, if you can play the left side of the infield you can play anywhere.
“Then the question you have is can he play the outfield? Well, yeah he can play the corners but he can also play centerfield. He’s that athletic.
“I think he’s got some severe pluses in his makeup. Plus, guys can grow out of an injury prone time in their life. If you look at him he’s not a real big guy. He’s got thin wrists and thin ankles, he’s more of a ballet dancer than he is a baseball player.
“There comes a point in time where your body can absorb a little more abuse and that can keep you on the field. Now’s his time and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he can come back.”
Listen to the full interview below.