Not so long ago Eric Duncan was the Yankees’ third baseman of the future, as the 2003 first-round pick ranked as the game’s 36th-best prospect in 2005 according to Baseball America and then cracked the top 100 again in 2006.
Shortly after that it turned out he couldn’t play third base particularly well and then eventually it turned out he couldn’t hit all that well either. And now at age 27–with 10 seasons in the minors and not a single at-bat in the majors–Duncan is retiring to take a job as a volunteer assistant coach at Seton Hall.
Duncan, who went to Seton Hall Prep for high school in New Jersey, played this season at Double-A in the Royals’ farm system, hitting .267 with four homers and a .688 OPS in 52 games.
The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”
While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.
The deal has not been confirmed by the team.