Manager Tony La Russa told the assembled press Tuesday that pitching coach Dave Duncan wants a three-year contract from the Cardinals even though the skipper only has a one-year deal and an option.
Not only do I think that is a perfectly understandable request from a guy who has been loyal to ad successful for the Redbirds since 1996, I wonder how the club thinks it is reasonable to have offered the coaches -- Duncan included -- only one-year deals.
The argument that La Russa asked for a one-year deal so his coaches need to be on the same schedule is ridiculous. First, Duncan has already stated that he wants to coach for at least three more seasons and that he wants to do it for the Cardinals. If La Russa decided to retire at the end of the 2011 season does that mean Duncan has to be forced into retirement and that he could never work with another manager? If La Russa died would Duncan be buried alive next to him?
Second, the amount of years La Russa gets is irrelevant. He has said many times that if he had a five-year contract and the Cardinals told him after one season that they didn't want him back that he wouldn't expect to be paid for the other four seasons. So, to that extent, La Russa's contract doesn't enter the picture. He could come or go at any time. And if you don't take his word for it that he wouldn't want the money, the way contracts work, if he is bound to the Cardinals and he quit, he can't manage anywhere else unless a settlement is reached.
Duncan is 65 years old. Give the guy a three year deal to show him the respect he deserves. The guy is known as one of the top pitching coaches both currently and in the history of the game. So treat him as such. And show the other coaches some respect with two or three-year deals. How can the Cardinals expect to get and retain top quality leaders when they are offering short-term, undesirable contracts?