It Might Not Be Game Over For Eric Gagne

Eric Gagne

Do you remember the 2003-2004 Dodgers? I sure do. It was a memorable time in Dodger land. The scummy McCourts had just purchased the Dodgers and the boys in blue were in the midst of breaking an 8-year postseason drought.

The Dodgers had a fun club at that time too. Shawn Green and Adrian Beltre provided the thump. Cesar Izturis and Alex Cora were the double play combination, and the pitching staff consisted of the late great Jose Lima, Hideo Nomo in his second stint with the Dodgers, and the durable Jeff Weaver. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was still playing, and Olmedo Saenz was still pretty fat.

Nothing makes me think more about that time frame than former Cy Young winner and closer Eric Gagne. His 2003 season was one for the ages, and anytime I think about him I think about those 2003-2004 seasons. I think about Lima time and his shutout over the Cardinals in the playoffs, and I think about Milton Bradley‘s tantrums. I think about Arnold Schwarzenegger and the recall election. Man those were interesting times.

Here we are nearly 13 years later and what if I told you the Dodgers were thinking about signing Gagne. Wouldn’t that take you back to those care free days when the Dodgers were a ragtag bunch of misfits with an amazing closer.

Imagine what a story it would be if say former Cy Young winner and closer Eric Gagne not only returned to MLB, but returned to the Dodgers. Let’s say the Dodgers signed Gagne to a minor league deal and after a couple of months he was called up to the big club because of injuries, and let’s just pretend that he can still pitch and pitch well despite being out of baseball since 2008 and being 41-years old.

Could you see that happening? Wouldn’t that be incredibly cool? Close your eyes and imagine Gagne coming into a game in the eighth inning and blowing away hitters, and then Kenley Jansen immediately following him in the ninth inning. I’m not making this up, it could actually happen because the Dodgers are discussing with Gagne about signing him to a minor league contract. According to reports the two sides are talking, but Gagne also has interest from a couple of other clubs as well.

Gagne pitched for the Dodgers from 1999-2006, and saved a total of 187 games in his ten career MLB seasons. He posted a 3.47 ERA and pitched in 402 games. Perhaps his best season was in 2003 when he went 55 for 55 in saves with a 1.20 ERA in 77 appearances that earned him the National League Cy Young award. He finished with 718 career strikeouts and struck out 10.0 per nine innings. Gagne’s last MLB appearance came in 2008 with the Brewers. He’s been out of baseball ever since, briefly pitching in Canadian independent baseball.

Gagne pitched with Team Canada during the World Baseball Classic, but didn’t see much action. He tossed just 2.1 scoreless innings and struck out two with just one walk. Gagne was in camp working out the Dodgers this spring and also served as an instructor. Apparently he still has it. Several players said he looked great while watching him pitch bullpen sessions at Camelback.

The question is whether Gagne has anything left in the tank at age 41. He probably doesn’t, but it would be a shocker if he did. I’m all for taking a walk down memory lane and that insane curveball. It might not be game over for Gagne.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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33 thoughts on “It Might Not Be Game Over For Eric Gagne

      1. He was throwing in the low 90’s in camp MJ, or about 5 MPH faster than Kazmir…..I think he has something left, and a minor league deal is pretty much low risk.

        1. Michael

          I really don’t care if they sign him, but they are getting older.

          I just don’t think he is ready to pitch like our relief pitchers have to pitch, all season long.

          I rather have one of the young pitchers come up.

          No one will accuse me, of being an advocate for Kazmir, so that was funny Michael!

          1. MJ, if he is signed he would most likely go to AAA. There he not only would pitch, but he would be mentoring guys he coached in spring. Makes perfect sense to me. If he has anything, they will know. And if he could actually help bridge the gap to Jansen, all that much better. I do not have a whole lot of faith in Romo. He has been so so the last 2 years in SF and he did lose his closers job there. I say sign him, send him to AAA, and see what the guy has…if nothing, well no big deal, but the bullpen pitchers in AAA get his valuable knowledge a little while longer. Morrow can opt out on June 1st, and Gagne does not need to pitch an entire year. In all likelihood, it would be a few months at most.

  1. Well I say trust the pro’s. If they think Gagne has anything a minor league deal does not hurt anyone. And by the way guys, Colon over in Atlanta is OLDER than Gagne and he is a starter. So give the guy a shot. It is a win win. And with all the weird moves FAZ has made he needs a little PR mojo. Colon is also fatter than Olmedo Saenz was when he was a Dodger……

        1. About right…..and they have an open spot on the 40 man roster and I think they did that for a reason. So they can call up a non roster guy if they want, like Morrow, or who ever.

        2. MJ I was wrong, which does not happen often………….ahem, Parker’s first name is Blake……whoops……Yanks getting squashed on opening day by the Rays, foist 2017 homer…….Evan Longoria…..I was channeling my inner Brooklynite on that first homer thing…….

          1. Michael

            I think you were thinking about the Angels pitcher, that started, that night.

            By the way, I have been known to be wrong, but that is just part, of being human.

          2. MJ, who ever said I was human???? I am the Bear, and we have great memory’s unlike the Elephant who forgets everything! No, I really thought I heard Joe Davis call the guy Garrett……maybe I am losing my mind…….anyway, he is no Vin Scully and he is very boring. Orel is at least somewhat entertaining.

  2. Tomorrow is finally the day we have all waited for since the Cubbies were jumping around like a bunch of maniacs that black night in Chi-Town. CK on the bump, the sad-sack Pads in town with a Rockies retread pitching for them. I smell a win……whoops, better not jinx it.

    1. Michael

      I like Orel, but I like Nomar better, because he says, what is exactly on his mind.

      But it looks like Nomar will only be on the post and pregame shows this year.

      Orel tries to always have a positive spin, when he talks.

      1. Which is probably why he is on TV. You check most of the TV announcers for any team, and they all have a couple things in common. They are all homers who never criticize the FO, and they all spin everything in a positive light. Vin would tell it like it was.

  3. Well I was right. They went with a 12 man staff so they could have 5 on the bench. Ex Dodgers on other rosters…..Balt 1….Bos 1….NYY 1…..TB 0 (Deleon did not make the roster) Tor 3….Bolsinger DFA’d..and they released Melvin Upton. Chi 0…..Cle 1….Det 0….KC 3….Minn 0….Hou 1….LAA 3…..all pitchers….A’s 3…all pitchers….Sea 1….Tex 1..Beltre on DL Atl 2….Mia 5….NYM 0….Phil 1….Wash 3….Chi 1…Anderson made their opening day roster…….amazing…Cincy 2….Mil 0….StL 1….Pit 1…. Az 2….Greinke vs Bumgarner opening day…..any guesses on who wins that one? Colo 0….SD 2….SF 0…39 ex Dodgers on 29 teams. I always like to look at that every year. All the ex Dodger pitchers the A’s have are young, the guys on the Angels, not so much. Not counting the numerous coaches and managers who are exe Dodgers. There is quite a blue presence in the big leagues. You can count the front office staff on that too. Weird facts, Minnesota is carrying 1 catcher…..they have Mauer listed as a infielder, and SD is carrying 4. Betancourt is a C/P…weird. The D-Backs are carrying 3 catchers. Let the games begin!

    1. I’m watching the dback game. Buttgatherer dealing, Greinke missing his spots, and getting squeezed. 1-0 early.

      I’d rather have someone other than Gagne have opportunity. We’ve got plenty of young pitchers to throw out there. But I get why his name is being floated.

      1. Badger

        I turned that game on, just after Bumgarner, hit that HR off Greinke.

        Thank God the Dbacks finally got a hit, and just tied the game, on Snot rocket.

  4. Wasn’t part of Gagne’s success due to PED’s? I like baseball not publicity stunts. But hey give him a shot in the minors. It can’t hurt the big club.

    1. He was in the Mitchell report, but so were a lot of other guys, and it was never proven he took anything in his Dodger years. LoDuca was on that list too. I rather they have solid evidence before they give that tag to a player. Grandal was suspended for PDE’s and nobody but me has brought it up much…

      1. Michael

        They didn’t test players as well, as they do now.

        Well Dee Gordon toke steroids, and you would think he would know better, since his father was a major league pitcher.

        Ravin tested positive too, last year.

  5. Perfect way to start a year……Giants closer blows the game, and I thought Melancon was the answer to their closer problem……

  6. I don’t think this front office is the type that do publicity stunts. That’s not the culture of this organization. If it is anything, it is rational.

    However, they are fond of reclamation projects – taking low risk flyers on players who have had a previous track record of success.

    Who cares who he is or how old he is. 94 MPH with a good secondary is 94 MPH with a good secondary. Sure. Why not?

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