Dave Duncan wants to work. And the Cardinals ought to let him

Posted by Scott Wuerz on September 13, 2013 

Former Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan told Fox Sports that he's fielded calls from several major league teams that are interested in him getting back into baseball in some capacity.

Duncan, while he said he's past the point of wanting to coach, said he would be interested in a front office position that would allow him to work with a team without what he calls the "grind" of being a coach.

I hope one of those interested clubs is the Cardinals. And, if the Redbirds are interested in having Duncan back, I hope it would be his preference to come here.

The Cardinals were very good to Duncan during his more than a decade and a half-long tenure in St. Louis. He was the highest-paid pitching coach in baseball. And, when Duncan's wife became ill and he had to leave the club to take care of her, the Birds did the right thing by freeing Duncan of his responsibilities while paying him his full salary.

Anyone who has ever had a seriously ill family member knows how helpful it is to have a supportive employer who allows you to take care of the most important things in life without fear of losing your job.

The Cardinals could certainly use Duncan. While current St. Louis pitching coach Derek Lilliquist has done a good job working with the pitchers, Duncan has been around most of the Redbirds hurlers for a very long time. He knows what makes guys like Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn tick. And it would certainly be nice to have him around to lean on when somebody gets into a funk.

Duncan's specialty was always being a mechanics guru. So when someone gets out of whack, it would be nice to be able to summon him from his air conditioned office and get his two cents about how the problem should be ironed out.

It would also be helpful to the St. Louis organization to have Duncan make a periodic tour of the minor leagues to make sure the Cardinals pitching prospects are on the right track and that they know how to get the job done and what is expected of them when they reach St. Louis.

The Cardinals also don't need someone who knows what has made St. Louis so successful over the last 20 years sharing his wisdom with other franchises. Especially not with ones in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee or Chicago. The Redbirds did a poor job for a long time at keeping their brain trust in the organization. While the coaching staff was relatively stable at the major league level, guys like Vince Coleman, Tom Herr, Ken Oberkfell and Bob Forsch ended up coaching or managing in other organization's minor league systems while guys like Ozzie Smith were allowed to drift away from the Cardinals family.

The Birds have done a much better job recently, bringing Smith, Willie McGee and Jim Edmonds back into the picture in one way or another. And they've kept Chris Carpenter engaged with the program even though he has been unable to play this season.

If you look back through history, you'll find that many of the players from the Gas House Gang era that played in the 1926, '28, '30, '31 and '34 World Series (Billy Southworth, Ray Blades, Mike Gonzalez...) turned up as coaches or instructors in the Cardinals system to help develop the World Series teams of 1942, '43,  '44 and 46. And a lot of those guys from the 1940s (Red Schoendienst, Howie Pollet and Stan Musial) were involved in the organization when the 1964, '67 and '68 World Series teams were competing.

If manger Mike Matheny's mantra about "The Cardinals Way" carries any water, the Cardinals talent needs to be kept within the Cardinals system. Otherwise things just get diluted and the idea that the Redbirds have something special going on doesn't really ring true.

My understanding is that Duncan lives in the Ozarks now. A relationship with the Cardinals would put him in close proximity to not only the parent club in St. Louis but also the Class AA farm club in Springfield, Mo. So it seems like a deal might make sense for everyone involved. I hope the Redbirds can make it happen.

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