I looked at Duke around Thanksgiving 2009:
Justin Duchscherer (Type B): And then we have the Duke. Talk about risky. He makes the first two [Harden, Sheets] seem like horses. Duke made the transition from reliever to starter in 2008, resulting in a fantastic season, including an All Star appearance. He finished the year making (a career high) 22 starts with a 2.54 ERA, 163 ERA+, 0.995 WHIP (!), and 6.0 K/9 IP. That was 2008. He was out all of 2009 with (according to Wikipedia, sic’d): “Duchscherer after being diagnosed with clinical depression he will miss the remainder of the 2009 season. Duchscherer didn’t throw a pitch in the majors this year. He was lined up to make his 2009 debut in late August, but was mysteriously scratched because of a non-baseball issue.”
Duke has been felled by a hip injury (2007) and a biceps issue (2008). He’s not the fireballer that the first two are and is an even greater risk.
Psychological issues are tricky. Can he regain himself and return to form or will this linger? It’s not like elbow surgery where we know how long the recovery process is. Zack Greinke had been treated for psychological issues and overcame them to win the Cy Young this year. I have no insight into Duke’s progress at this point. I hope he can return to the field soon.
I call this a “watch and follow”. If he’s still out there in late January/early February and the team still has a void, then maybe.
I had a few postings about Duke back then. Bottom line, Duke would have been a waste of money in 2010. Maybe he’s in a much better place, mentally and physically, for 2011. Regardless of the Yanks’ ultimate decision, I wish Duke luck.