If Dave Duncan got an agent’s cut…

by on July 6, 2010 · 3 comments

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?

I went in search of the pitchers I felt improved under Duncan and cashed in on a contract afterward (cap tip to Baseball-Reference.com and Cot’s 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!

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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spock July 6, 2010

Interesting, so are you positioning yourself as his agent for when Dunc retires and becomes a high priced pitching consultant? ;->

PH8 July 6, 2010

That sounds like a great idea… now to go pitch it to Dunc.

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