CINCINNATI -- The Reds are bringing in free-agent lefty situational reliever Zach Duke after he agreed to a contract Friday, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.A source told MLB.com that a deal was close but not done yet. It's likely that Duke still needs to take a physical before
CINCINNATI -- The Reds are bringing in free-agent lefty situational reliever Zach Duke after he agreed to a contract Friday, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
A source told MLB.com that a deal was close but not done yet. It's likely that Duke still needs to take a physical before the signing is completed. Terms were not immediately known, and the Reds have yet to formally announce a signing.
Duke, who will turn 36 in April, is a 14-year veteran of the Major Leagues and has a 4.30 ERA in 540 games that include 169 starts early in his career.
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In 72 games combined for the Twins and Mariners last season, he was 5-5 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Over 52 innings, he allowed 57 hits including one home run with 21 walks and 51 strikeouts. Left-handed hitters batted .220 against him compared to .311 by right-handed hitters.
The Reds have made multiple trades this offseason to improve starting pitching and their outfield. But Duke would be the first free-agent addition, and he would join a bullpen that includes veterans like Raisel Iglesias, Jared Hughes and David Hernandez. Cincinnati also has three other lefties in the mix for bullpen spots in Wandy Peralta, Amir Garrett and Cody Reed -- if he's not used as a starter.
It was with the Reds organization where Duke turned his career around in 2013. The Nationals released him in June of that season after he had an 8.71 ERA in 12 games. After being picked up by the Reds, he had a 1.30 ERA in 26 games for Triple-A Louisville and then a 0.84 ERA over 14 games when brought back to the big leagues. Cincinnati did not include Duke on its National League Wild Card Game roster, however.
After he departed the Reds as a free agent, Duke pitched for the Brewers, White Sox and Cardinals. He's also previously pitched for the Pirates and D-backs.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.