Eric Gagne Rumors
Eric Gagne has retired, reports Martin Leclerc of Rue Frontenac (English translation here). Gagne explained that he feels great physically, but has lost the desire to pitch. The 34-year-old was released by the Dodgers a month ago.
Gagne's run of dominant closing for the Dodgers resulted in a 1.79 ERA, 13.3 K/9, and 152 saves over 2002-04, spanning 247 innings. Each of those years, he made the All-Star team and received Cy Young and MVP votes. He won the Cy Young in '03, saving 55 games with a 1.20 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 82.3 innings. Gagne earned about $40MM in his career, according to Baseball-Reference.
The blemish: Gagne appeared in the Mitchell Report for using human growth hormone in 2004. He later explained to T.J. Simers of the L.A. Times that he thought it'd help with a knee injury.
Despite being told that he will not make the Dodgers' Opening Day roster, Doug Mientkiewicz's request to be released from his contract has yet to be granted, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Mientkiewicz says that he has been told he is the club's contingency plan in the event that Garret Anderson is hurt.
The Dodgers have contractual control over the 35-year-old first baseman until Friday, when his opt-out clause goes into effect. Mientkiewicz says he doesn't understand why he has yet to be cut loose as Angel Berroa and Eric Gagne were both released upon their requests.
Mientkiewicz, known best for his defense, declined an offer from manager Joe Torre to stay on with the club as a coach. In twelve big league seasons, the veteran has a career slash line of .271/.360/.405.
In his latest column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe ranks baseball's managers, from first (Bobby Cox) to 30th (rookie skipper Brad Mills). He also shares a few hot stove notes:
- Contracts like the eight-year pacts signed by Mark Teixeira and Joe Mauer may indicate what it'll take for the Brewers to lock up Prince Fielder long-term. Milwaukee "would like to seal the deal right now," avoiding the drama that will only increase as Fielder approaches free agency.
- Cafardo wonders if Pedro Martinez could end up pitching for the Dodgers at some point this season.
- Alex Gonzalez said "forget it" this winter when the Red Sox asked him to wait until they had dealt with Jason Bay. Gonzalez adds: "I was going to get a starting job, and in this market, I'm glad I didn't wait."
- Eric Gagne believes he can still succeed at the big league level, but he may have trouble catching on anywhere this late in the spring.
- Sergio Santos would have plenty of teams interested in him if he doesn't break camp with the White Sox. Santos, a former first-round pick as a shortstop, is out of options and competing for a spot in Chicago's bullpen.
Eric Gagne has been granted his release by the Dodgers, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Gagne's contract included an out-clause, though he initially accepted his demotion to the minors last week.
The Dodgers signed the 34-year-old to a minor league deal in mid-February. Gagne was set to earn $500K if he managed to break camp with the team and up to $500K in incentives. The Rockies also offered Gagne a minor league contract around the same time.
Gagne's last stint in the majors was with Milwaukee in 2008, where he posted a 5.44 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 46.1 innings.
Lots of rainouts in Florida, so here are some links to get you through the day...
- Jayson Stark takes a look at pitching phenoms not named Stephen Strasburg. Also featured: Strasburg.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert looks back at the trade that sent Jose Valverde to Houston and says the D'Backs now look like winners for obtaining Chad Qualls, Juan Gutierrez and Chris Burke.
- Rickie Weeks told Colin Fly of the AP that he'll miss former teammate J.J. Hardy, who was traded for Carlos Gomez this winter (link via the Miami Herald).
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo profiles highly-touted high schooler Jameson Taillon, from his academic background to his hobbies, to his upper-90s fastball. Taillon will likely be a top pick in this year's draft.
- Top Cubs prospect Starlin Castro will start the season in Triple A no matter how good he looks in Spring Training, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail repeated to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun that the Orioles will consider other options in case Brian Roberts isn't going to be ready on Opening Day.
- In case you're wondering, Jermaine Dye is the only remaining free agent who qualified for the batting title last year.
- Cubs manager Lou Piniella feels healthy going into the last year of his contract, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Team president Crane Kenney expects to have an "interesting conversation" with Piniella after the season.
- The Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League signed Toshihisa Nishi, according to this Sanspo report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter).
- Jason Bay says he feels more comfortable than before, now that he has a no-trade clause in his contract, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
- Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times can't think of a Dodger to successfully make a comeback like the one Eric Gagne is attempting.
- A former GM tells Baseball America that teams didn't worry about losing players out of minor league options in the past. Check out MLBTR's list of players out of minor league options here and go to the Baseball America article for Matt Eddy's explanation of options and why they matter.
- Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post suspects that the Nationals may not draft Bryce Harper with the first overall pick in this year's draft.
The Dodgers have officially signed Eric Gagne to a minor league deal worth up to $1MM. Gagne makes $500K if he breaks camp with the Dodgers and he can earn up to $500K more in incentives based on games and games finished.
The Rockies offered the 34-year-old Gagne a minor league deal as well, however he apparently preferred the familiarity of the Dodgers' organization. He's returning to where he enjoyed his most big league success, saving 152 games while winning a Cy Young Award during a three year stretch from 2002-2004.
Eric Gagne has an offer for a minor league deal from the Rockies, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding (via Twitter). We heard earlier in the week that the Rockies were in the mix, with the Dodgers involved, too. Gagne threw for Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd and Jim Tracy, his former manager, but he has also thrown in front of the Dodgers, who are still in the mix.
Gagne, 34, hasn't been effective in the majors since the first part of the 2007 season. He pitched in the Can-Am league last year and is looking to return to the big leagues.
WEDNESDAY, 1:22pm: SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Dodgers are the most likely landing spot for Gagne, with the Rockies in the mix. However, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post says a pedestrian throwing session yesterday makes Gagne a longshot for Colorado.
TUESDAY, 4:41pm: It wasn't long ago that Eric Gagne was in the midst of one of most dominant stretches a reliever has ever had. After disappointing stints in Boston and Milwaukee and a year in the Can-Am League, one thing is clear: Gagne wants to pitch in the majors again. Here are the details on his preferences and the teams that are considering him:
- Gagne wants to be a Dodger again, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. GM Ned Colletti confirmed to MLB.com that his scouts have watched Gagne throw, though the Dodgers have not yet made an offer.
- Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times tweets that the Dodgers' interest in Gagne has been overstated, but Gagne has another suitor if that's the case.
- The Rockies watched Gagne throw today, tweets MLB.com's Thomas Harding. GM Dan O'Dowd was in attendance with manager Jim Tracy, who used to manage Gagne in LA.
Monday night linkage..
- Jon Heyman of SI writes that the Dodgers and Rockies have watched Eric Gagne throw and both teams have shown the willingness to take a chance. A few weeks ago we learned that Colorado was thinking about extending a non-roster invite to the 34-year-old.
- The Red Sox might not be close to signing Cuban pitcher Yuniesky Maya, a source familiar with the negotiations tells Rob Bradford of WEEI. There's a good chance that Maya will instead choose a team that offers a better opportunity to immediately enter its starting rotation.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson writes that Gary Sheffield would not be a good fit for the Nationals as he wants to play every day. Ladson spoke to a major league source who believes that Sheffield will not accept a role as a backup.
- Jason Beck of MLB.com fielded a question from a reader, asking why the Tigers dealt Curtis Granderson, only to pursue Johnny Damon instead. Beck says that the Granderson trade brought Detroit financial flexibility and prospects. He also credits agent Scott Boras for helping to create an opportunity for Damon.
- Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg told 620-AM WDAE that the club's payroll will drop below $60MM in 2011, despite having a payroll north of $70MM this season. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times points out that while the club didn't plan to make any big additions this year, they found room for Rafael Soriano after dealing Scott Kazmir and Akinori Iwamura.
- If Mike Jacobs doesn't make the Mets major league roster, Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News doesn't expect him to play for the club's Triple-A affiliate. Even though his minor league deal doesn't have an out-clause, Rubin is "virtually positive" that the Mets would accommodate him with a trade or release.
- In his latest mailbag, MLB.com's Bryan Hoch supports Yankees GM Brian Cashman's decision to wait to negotiate with upcoming free agents Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Hoch believes that both players should be confident that they'll both be taken care of eventually.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post looks at a number of Rockies-related items in his latest blog entry....
- Eric Goldschmidt, agent of veteran infielder Melvin Mora, says his free-agent client is "definitely interested" in playing for Colorado. Renck points out that Mora's versatility would make him a logical signing for the Rockies, given that their other recent bench signing (Jason Giambi) can only play first base. Mora could decide on his future by the end of the week as he picks from between "roughly" five interested teams.
- Speaking of Giambi, Renck said that his clubhouse presence was a big factor in his re-signing with the Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki credited Giambi with "helping...with the mental side" of baseball.
- Renck says the Rockies are "expected to sign" reliever Justin Speier to a minor-league contract. Released by the Angels in August, Speier pitched for Colorado from 2001 to 2003 and has a 2.55 K/BB ratio in 12 major league seasons.
- Eric Gagne is "becoming a more likely non-roster invite than Derrick Turnbow." We heard yesterday from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) that Arizona is also interested in Turnbow, so perhaps Colorado doesn't want to get into a bidding war with its divisional rival.
- Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd told Renck he was "surprised" when Jose Contreras signed with Philadelphia. O'Dowd said the Rockies wanted to use Contreras out of the bullpen while the Phillies offered him a chance to start. Interestingly, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said today (as reported by Todd Zolecki of MLB.com) that Contreras will only start during spring training and will be a reliever by Opening Day.