Reds rumors: Cincinnati Reds in “serious discussions” with Zach Duke

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 27: Zach Duke #33 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Texas Rangers in the seventh inning during their game at Safeco Field on September 27, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 27: Zach Duke #33 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Texas Rangers in the seventh inning during their game at Safeco Field on September 27, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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For once the latest Reds rumors don’t involve a trade. The Cincinnati Reds are said to be in “serious discussions” with reliever Zach Duke.

The Cincinnati Reds have been involved in several trade discussions all offseason. The latest Reds rumors have the team focused on a free agent this time. Cincinnati has been linked to free agent reliever Zach Duke. The contract discussions are said to be “serious” and the Reds may be one step closer to improving their bullpen.

C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal, both of The Athletic, report that the Cincinnati Reds are in “serious discussions” with left-handed reliever Zach Duke. Duke spent last season split between the Minnesota Twins and the Seattle Mariners. Duke played in 75 games last season with a 4.15 ERA.

There is little doubt, that if the Reds were able to land Duke, that he would play the role of left-handed specialist. Though Duke played in 75 games last season, he only pitched in 52 innings, meaning he was utilized, on more than one occasion, to just get that key out of a left-hand batter. That’s something the Reds desperately need given the left-handed sluggers in the NL Central.

Duke surrendered only on home run all of last season, another important trait if you’re going to be a successful pitcher at Great American Ball Park. Zach Duke also had a very nice ground ball rate of 59.4%, again, that’ll play well at GABP. Duke held opposing lefties to a paltry .220 batting average and a .283 on-base percentage.

The Cincinnati Reds already have some talented lefties on their roster. Amir Garrett and Cody Reed both are looking to establish themselves as key pieces in the bullpen this season; Reed may even be in the mix for a spot in the starting rotation. Brandon Finnegan would be another left-handed option out of the pen for the Reds, but his production last season makes one really question if he’ll be on the team past Spring Training.

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Zach Duke would definitely be a solid piece to the Cincinnati Reds bullpen, and allow players like Garret and Reed to pitch to more than just one batter, something both of those youngsters have proven they can do. Most of the Reds rumors of late have revolved around J.T. Realmuto, but it’s nice to see the team making an effort to grab another hurler for the bullpen.