In a Christmas shocker, the veteran reliever, Zach Duke, will play for his eighth team in his career as it was announced Christmas Day that Duke has signed a one-year contract with the Minnesota Twins, first reported by Paul Lambert. The contract is worth $2 million with a potential $1.5 million based on performance. The team confirmed the move today.
Breaking: Twins have agreed to terms with reliever Zach Duke.
— Paul Lambert (@MeatSauce1) December 25, 2017
Zach Duke’s 1-year deal with #mntwins carries a guarantee just over $2 million, per source, plus up to $1.5 million in attainable performance bonuses. Twins view him strictly as a reliever but believe he can get both righties and lefties out.
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) December 27, 2017
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) December 26, 2017
Duke’s Career Profile
Drafted with the 594th overall pick in the 20th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2001 June Amateur Draft, Duke would wait for four years before making his MLB debut. In his rookie season, Duke would play in 14 games, pitching a 1.81 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 84.2 innings pitched. In his time in Pittsburgh, totaling six years, Duke would pitch a 4.54 ERA with 785 strikeouts in 964.1 innings pitched. He would also be named an All-Star in 2009. During the 2010 off-season, Duke would be traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later. The player would be revealed as pitcher Cesar Valdez. After spending a year with Arizona, Duke would sign a minor league contract with the Houston Astros on January 27th, 2012. He would be released on March 27th.
Two days later, Duke would sign a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals, and he would make the roster. He would spend two years in Washington, pitching a 5.77 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 34.1 innings pitched. After his time in Washington, Duke would sign a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds, and would then proceed to make the roster. After his year in Cincinnati, Duke would sign a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Duke would be on the move once again, signing a three year, $15 million contract with the Chicago White Sox. In two years with the White Sox, Duke pitched a 3.11 ERA with 108 strikeouts in 98.1 innings pitched.
On Trade Deadline Day in 2016, Duke would be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. In exchange, the White Sox acquired center fielder Charles Tilson. In two years with the Cardinals, Duke would pitch a 2.81 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 41.2 innings pitched. During his career so far, Duke has pitched a 4.30 ERA with 785 strikeouts in 1,284.2 innings pitched.
The Impact Of The Signing
For the Twins, they continue to build on their pitching focus this off-season. Already, Minnesota signed Fernando Rodney earlier in the off-season and have been linked to Yu Darvish this off-season. For the Cardinals, they lose a reliable setup man in their rotation who has really improved later in his career. Duke will now look to make an impact with the young rotation of the Twins, and build on his amazing year last year.
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