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Zach Duke Pitches Last Game In A Pirates Uniform

Well, probably, anyway. I won't exactly miss him, but I'll miss the 2005 version of him - you know, the one with life on his fastball, the one who had a lot of snap on his curveball, the one who set batters up effortlessly. I also tend to agree with those who pointed out in the comments here a few days ago that bringing Duke back might not be a bad idea, given how bad the free agent market is. Sure, the Pirates could sign a Kevin Millwood, who just might be an upgrade given the Pirates' defensive woes - but if Millwood is in fact an upgrade, he isn't a big one. And expecting the Pirates do do better than someone like Millwood is probably expecting too much.

Anyway, Duke got a very raw deal in Pittsburgh with all the poor defenses he had to pitch in front of, but what's done is done there, and there's no point lamenting that a guy deserved to be average. Here's hoping he can finally find a team with a defense who can make him look that way.

I've just been digging through the archives here trying to find fun Zach Duke stuff. According to Bucs Dugout's search engine, this will be the 291st post in which I've mentioned him here. Anyway:

-P- Remember when John Russell pulled Duke in the ninth and everyone got angry? That was fun.

-P- I predict the improvement in Duke's numbers from 2008 to 2009. (I also say nice things about Ryan Doumit and Andy LaRoche, but whatever.)

-P- Way back in 2008, I whine about Duke and the Pirates' defense.

-P- This is just mean, but still kind of funny.

-P- Paul Maholm describes Duke, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny and himself as "a pretty good core."

-P- I argue (pretty unconvincingly, in retrospect) that Duke should have been the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year.

Oh well. Bucs Dugout was a pretty sad place back then. It's funny, though - BD opened in June 2005, right around when Duke was starting his major-league career. I had another blog for a year before that and I remember writing breathlessly about Duke when he was all the way down in Lynchburg. (Please, don't go hunting for that.) The only other current Pirates who were on that 2005 team were Doumit and Maholm, both of whom were also rookies that year. I wonder how long it will be before both of them are gone too.