Cardinals’ left-hander Zach Duke will be shut down for the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, according to a report by MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch.
Duke was acquired at the trade deadline to add some bullpen depth for the Cardinals’ stretch run, and posted a 1.93 ERA and 2.00 K/BB ratio in 23 1/3 innings for the club. He stands to make $5.5 million in 2017, the last vestige of a three-year contract that he signed with the White Sox in the 2014 offseason.
Prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery, as well as getting his flexor muscle repaired, the left-hander had no prior known history of major injuries. His closest brush with a long-term setback came in 2007, when he landed on the 60-day disabled list with minor irritation in his left ulnar collateral ligament.
The Cardinals still have three lefties in their bullpen with Kevin Siegrist, Dean Kiekhefer, and an injured Tyler Lyons. Possible internal replacements for Duke include left-handers Marco Gonzales and Tim Cooney, though with both pitchers sidelined with shoulder and elbow injures, the Cardinals are also expected to peruse the trade market as the 2017 season nears.
In March, Major League Baseball agreed to pay minor league players $400 per week while the sport is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. That provision is set to expire at the end of May. As Craig noted earlier, the Athletics will not be paying their minor leaguers starting on June 1.
Several teams are doing the right thing, continuing to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week through at least the end of June. Per The Athletic’s Levi Weaver and James Fegan, the Rangers and White Sox will each tack on another month of pay. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported earlier that the Padres will pay their players through the end of August. Craig also cited a Baseball America report from this morning, which mentioned that the Marlins will also pay their players through the end of August.
Frankly, if the Marlins can find a way to continue paying their minor league players, then every team should be able to do the same. The Marlins are widely believed to be the least profitable among the 30 major league clubs. Here’s hoping the rest of the league follows the Rangers’, White Sox’s, Padres’, and Marlins’ lead as opposed to the Athletics’.