Normally I don’t write about pitching coaches, but in this case I will make an exception because I do believe it’s a big deal.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Monday at the pitching coach Dave Duncan has signed a two-year contract with a mutual option for 2013. This is pretty big news, and good news if you are a fan of the Red Birds.

As I wrote in my Managerial News and Notes post last week, Duncan is the engine that makes the Cardinals successful as an organization. What he does with these castoffs and misfit pitchers that he deals with is unbelievable.

His resume speaks for itself. Dave Stewart, Storm Davis, Mike Moore, Chris Carpenter, Joel Pineiro, Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver. All these pitchers have one thing in common—Duncan turned their careers around and made them, in some cases, Cy Young caliber pitchers.

Duncan will return to a team that, baring an unforeseen trade, will feature Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia at the top of the rotation. That is a solid threesome and one of the best in the National League.

It’s the last two spots in the Cardinals rotation where Duncan is going to earn his money. The Cardinals are working hard to bring back Jake Westbrook, who they acquired from the Cleveland Indians and had a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts.

If the Cardinals can bring him back, he would give the Cardinals four solid starters going into 2010. What they do for a fifth starter is anyone’s guess.

First shot would go to Kyle Lohse, who is in the middle of the four-year, $41 million contract he signed a little over a year ago. With $23 million remaining on his contract, Duncan will be asked to work his magic and try to revive Lohse’s career. That’s a very tall task.

Duncan has been in Tony LaRussa’s corner for the past 15 years.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Read more MLB news on