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Dave Duncan wants to return to the Cardinals next year

Nov 1, 2011, 12:02 PM EDT

Dave Duncan, Jaime Garcia, Yadier Molina

With Tony La Russa retiring, it’s not unreasonable to wonder what pitching coach Dave Duncan’s future holds.  He’s been La Russa’s partner in crime for nearly 30 years, following him from Chicago to Oakland and then finally on to St. Louis.  Does he ride off in the sunset at the same time as La Russa? Does he stay put? Does he take another pitching coach job someplace else?

Well, this morning anyway he’s saying — on a radio show, passed along by Gordon Edes on Twitter — that he wants to stay with the Cardinals for 2012.  Which, given that he’s still under contract makes sense. But a question: is it not worth asking whether that creates any problems for potential managerial candidates?

Now, it goes without saying that anyone should want Dave Duncan around because he’s the best pitching coach ever.  It doesn’t always work that way, however. Duncan’s own experience shows that things work best when a coach is paired with a manager who is on the same page about everything. How would Duncan respond to being with someone else besides La Russa for the first time since 1982? How would the new manager feel if he wasn’t able to get “his guy” in the job?

Maybe it’s not a problem, either because the Cardinals pick someone with enough sense to want to work with Duncan. Maybe it’s not a problem because Duncan is the most adaptable man on the planet. Maybe it’s not a problem because they’re going to promote Jose Oquendo or someone internally for whom none of these assimilation issues would really matter.  But it’s definitely an interesting open issue at the moment.

  1. thefalcon123 - Nov 1, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    The Duncan list:
    (4 average prior to Dunc stats followed by stats under Dunc)
    Dave Stewart:
    Prior: 7-7, 4.06 ERA
    Dunc: 18-11, 3.56 ERA*

    Mike Moore
    Prior: 12-14, 4.06 ERA,
    Dunc: 16-12, 3.54 ERA,

    Darryl Kile
    Prior: 13-12, 4.50 ERA (104 ERA+ to adjust for Colorado years)
    Dunc: 14-8, 3.54 ERA (125 ERA+)

    Woody Williams
    Prior: 10-11, 4.27 ERA
    Dunc: 11-6, 3.53 ERA (includes 2 months of 2001 after trade)

    Chris Carpenter:
    Prior: 8-9, 4.92 ERA
    Dunc: 16-7, 3.06 ERA (excludes 07 and 08 mostly missed to injury)

    Jeff Suppan
    Prior: 10-13, 4.79 ERA
    Dunc: 15-9, 3.95 ERA

    Joel Pineiro
    Prior: 9-12, 5.05 ERA
    Dunc: 9-7, 4.14 (11 starts in 2007)

    Kyle Lohse
    –well, two good season with two awful ones in the middle.

    Mark Mulder
    Prior: 18-8, 3.72 ERA
    Dunc: 6-4, 5.04 ERA….well, you can’t win them all, can you?

  2. Detroit Michael - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    In a similar situation, the White Sox extended Cooper’s contract as pitching coach before shopping for a manager. Who knows whether they already talked to Robin Ventura behind the scenes.

  3. metalhead65 - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    they have to keep him unless the new manager is adept at whining and crying to the press as larussa was when things don’t go thier way. and who else will yell at opposing pitchers when they hit thier star player on a 0-2 pitch to bring up their best hitters with 2 outs and 2 on?because as everyone knows that is when you throw at somebody. oh wait I forgot it is because he had the nerve to throw a pitch on the inside of the plate and we all know it is a unwritten rule when you play the cards that you can’t throw inside.

    • paperlions - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:31 PM

      Jealousy, it’s ugly.

      • spudchukar - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:47 PM

        Maybe you can use those grapes for vinegar.

  4. missingdiz - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Thanks for the stats, Falcon. I don’t have time to look them up, but what about Dennis Eckersley and Bob Welch? They were on the scrap heap before coming to Oakland and working with Duncan.

    So far as I know, no coaches have made the Hall of Fame. I think Duncan should be the first.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:28 PM

      Eck was changed from starter to reliever. Welch was absolutely NOT on the scrap heap, he was excellent and maybe better in LA.
      He came to Oakland in 1988, prior to that:
      1987: 15-9, 3.22 ERA (ranked 6th in NL)
      1986: 7-13, 3.28 ERA
      1985: 14-4, 2.31 ERA

  5. foreverchipper10 - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    They have been working together since 82′? Yikes. I was born in 83′. It is going to be strange to see those two separated.

  6. 78mu - Nov 1, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Duncan and TLR have had a professional relationship but they are not bosom buddies away from the ballpark. Anyone replacing TLR from the outside would have to be crazy to want to get in Dunc’s way and anyone hired from inside the organization is already aware they know less than he does about pitching and the team’s pitchers.

    Somehow I think Duncan’s name will come up in any interviews potential managers have with Mo and Dewitt.

    • spudchukar - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:49 PM

      Not sure he wants to manage. If Oquendo is the choice, and he can get along with a 48 year old kid, then his guidance sure would seem like a steadying hand.

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