We’ve touched on this before, but in case you were unaware, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan missed a lot of time late in the season to be with his wife who underwent brain surgery for a tumor. Dave has been back for the playoffs, largely because his wife Jeanine’s insistence that he do so.
Today Mike Lopresti of USA Today has a story on all of that, including an interview with Dave and Jeanine’s son (and former major leaguer) Chris Duncan, who talks about how Dave is trying to balance baseball and family, and how each of them give him strength.
Duncan may very well be the best pitching coach of all time. But there has likely been no flaky lefty or over-powered, control-deficient righty who has posed the sort of challenge he and his family now face. Good luck to him.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.