The Rangers are throwing trade rumor junkies a curveball – they’re now thinking about hanging onto Eric Gagne and signing him to a contract extension. This development may be related to the limited trade options for the rejuvenated closer.
Keep in mind that the extension talk may just be lip service. As a Scott Boras client, wouldn’t the oft-injured Gagne require a good three years, $36MM guaranteed? That’s my guess. That would be very risky. Assuming Mariano Rivera remains a Yankee, Francisco Cordero will be the only free agent closer near Gagne’s level. Nice timing for Coco, by the way.
I’m still learning how the Elias Bureau determines its free agent classifications. My guess is that Gagne would not earn the Type A designation because he missed most of last year. I’ll have to confirm that. If I’m correct, the Rangers wouldn’t be able to collect much in the way of draft picks if Gagne walks.
Evan Grant also notes that Joaquin Benoit has moven to the forefront as the Ranger reliever must likely to be dealt. Akinori Otsuka’s injury may prevent him from full re-establishing his value by July 31st. Benoit will not become a free agent until after 2008, and he’s in the midst of a career year after rediscovering his control. The Dodgers and Brewers may be interested. L.A. could get desperate if Takashi Saito’s injury is serious, although it does not appear to be. On the other hand, it’s certainly in Ned Colletti’s best interest to downplay the injury. For the Brew Crew, Benoit could slide into the closer role in 2008 if they allow Cordero to leave.
Grant adds that the Rangers and Dodgers have had slow-moving talks about Mark Teixeira, and that the Braves were scouting the game on Friday as well. The Braves could’ve been looking at relievers though.
One final note: contrary to a previous report, Grant says Kenny Lofton is drawing significant interest from the Tribe. Lofton’s agent has heard the rumor as well. Kenny implied yesterday that he’d play a corner outfield position if need be.