2012 bWAR: -0.6
2012 Salary: $500,000
2013 Contract Status: arbitration eligible (year 1)
Duncan's 2012 started off well, through nine games he had a slash line of .333/.514/.593. He had a huge game on April 15th, when he hit a big 3-run home run to put the Tribe ahead in the 3rd and then drew three walks and scored two more runs over the rest of the game. It was Shelley Duncan's world, the rest of us were just living in it.
Still, the Indians clearly weren't entirely sold, because by that time Johnny Damon was rumored to be signing with the team, and you don't bring in Johnny Damon in 2012 unless you have some serious doubts about your left fielder. Some argued the Damon signing spooked Duncan and that's why his play dropped off. Personally, I think he was probably just hitting above his true talent level for a time and then regression and reality caught up with him. Whatever the case, he crashed in a big way after the Damon signing became official.
Between April 18th and the end of his season, Duncan's line was .185/.251/.361 over 227 PA. He did manage to hit 9 home runs and 9 doubles over that time, but those numbers simply don't play, especially from a poor fielder and base runner. In August his line grew even worse, he put up a slash line of .120/.154/.260 and on August 29th the Indians finally put Duncan's season out of its misery by designating him for assignment.
Because Duncan has so little MLB service time, it's easy to think of him as a young player who was finding his way and then wasn't allowed to work through a slump, but Duncan is no spring chicken, he turns 33 on Saturday. He was actually one of the oldest players on the team, so I don't believe there was any reason to give him a long chance at turning things back around.
Here is a look at Duncan's offensive numbers during his time in Cleveland:
|CLE (3 yrs)||242||770||684||87||158||37||0||33||114||2||3||73||191||.231||.309||.430||.739||106|
During his time in Cleveland, Shelley Duncan had some big hits, grew a nice beard, and became the hero of six-year-old girls everywhere. He is gone, but not forgotten (yet).
Place in the Indians 2013 Plans: Whether a free agent is brought in or a minor league prospect is given the job, someone else will patrol left field next season.