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Pirates Could Dump Zach Duke

After another ugly start, the Post-Gazette reports that the Bucs could non-tender pitcher Zach Duke after the season. My thoughts are here, but essentially, the problem is not so much that Duke is bad, but rather that he's a terrible fit for a bad defensive team. The Pirates' defenses over the past decade have generally been wretched, and the only decent one in Duke's tenure was in 2009, when, by magical coincidence, his numbers were pretty good.

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Stick Duke on a good defensive team and he'll look like a totally reasonable No. 3 or No. 4 starter - many of those aggravating line drives he allows will start disappearing into fielders' gloves, and many of those five-run innings that start with a grounder or two that an infielder can't quite get to will start shrinking to one or or two runs. Duke isn't a great pitcher, but he's hardly a horrible one - the Pirates just make him look that way.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.