With the Cardinals playing turn-back-the-clock ball again, having signed former Cardinal Jeff Suppan to help stabilize the injury-riddled starting rotation, I got to thinking about Suppan’s plight and the “developmental prowess” of pitching coach Dave Duncan.
By now, we’re all well-versed in the plight of Suppan – signed by the Cardinals on the cheap originally, in 2004, Suppan improved on his career under the tutelage of Duncan. His ascent ultimately culminating in a strong 206 post-season that saw the Cardinals win the World Series, Soup then bolted for Milwaukee and a four-year, $41-million contract. And who could blame him?
Back to my percolating thoughts, it occurred to me that this wasn’t the first time (and likely not the last) that Duncan had been largely responsible for a pitcher cashing in.
So what if Duncan was an agent and got a five-percent cut of all of those contracts?
Andy Benes – 1998, two years/$12.45mm, Arizona Diamondbacks
Todd Stottlemyre – 1999, four years/$32mm, Arizona Diamondbacks
Darren Oliver – 2000, three years/$19mm, Texas Rangers (ok, maybe Oliver didn’t improve, but he got paid!)
Chris Carpenter – 2006, two years/$13mm, St. Louis Cardinals
Carpenter again – 2007, five years/$63.5mm, St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Suppan – 2007, four years/$42mm, Milwaukee Brewers
Jeff Weaver – 2007, one year/$8.325mm, Seattle Mariners (remember that Weaver was DFA’d earlier in 2006, so to get the same money for 2007 would be getting paid! in my book)
Kyle Lohse – 2009, four years/$41mm, St. Louis Cardinals
Joel Pineiro – 2010, two years/$16mm, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
It’s really a pretty impressive list. Some notes:
- The Cardinals have been quite scrutinizing, and with good reason, of the long-term deals/extensions they hand out. Injuries have befallen Carpenter and Lohse, but I don’t think we’d call the Carp deals busts and jury is still out on Lohse, in my opinion (not to mention I would argue that there was no reason to expect injury trouble from him).
- Benes wound up coming back to the Cardinals like Suppan has, but 1996 was clearly his high point.
- Stottlemyre wound up with shoulder issues and never did finish out his contract.
- Is Weaver just stealing money at this point?
Now let’s tally up the fee for Super-Agent Dunc.
Total of all contracts (approximately, I didn’t factor in buyouts, etc): $247.275 million
Duncan’s 5% “agent’s” fee: $12.364 million
Not a bad haul for 15 years worth of working with the Cardinals, right? Dunc is reportedly hauling in over $1 million to be the pitching coach for the home team, so maybe full-time consultant/agent to these guys isn’t an appropriate career move, but it would certainly be a nice supplemental income.
Any other names/contracts I’m missing? Leave ’em in the comments below!