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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Farewell ...
2006-12-12 09:37
by Jon Weisman

He's gone, never to be forgotten.

Dodger Thoughts, April 23, 2003:

When Eric Gagne comes into pitch at Dodger Stadium, "Welcome to the Jungle" is blasted out of the inadequate single set of speakers behind center field, and an onslaught of blue and white cartoon Gagne heads overruns the scoreboard, in a hallucinatory montage not unlike the visions of Lisa Simpson after drinking tainted water on the "It's a Duff World" ride at Duff Gardens.

The entrance is ridiculous, and would be an embarrassment - if it weren't so wonderful. It captures what worked so well in the Wild Thing scenes with Charlie Sheen from the movie, Major League. Those scenes mocked the hoopla over a relief pitcher's entrance into game while marking a crowd's unmistakably sincere desperation and appreciation for a hero they know will bring victory home.

A home run by Shawn Green will send Dodger fans to their feet, but Eric Gagne is the only Dodger on the field today that breaks Dodger fans out of their shells and allows them to be the rarest of adjectives at a Dodger game - goofy and giddy.

Eric Gagne is so good that even though his entrance into a game borders on parody, it is a grand homage. They shouldn't be playing music from Guns N' Roses - they should be playing music from Braveheart. Or Waiting for Guffman.

Eric Gagne is so good that he should play himself on The Simpsons - and not necessarily in a baseball-themed episode. I see Homer hiring Gagne to be his stunt double.

Eric Gagne is so good that he could put out a disco single and even jaded audiophiles at Tower Records would line up to buy it.

Eric Gagne is so good that he could lift up his shirt on the pitcher's mound, squeeze his bellyfat, practice ventriloquism through his bellybutton, and enthrall audiences from Ontario to Ontario.

It doesn't mean Gagne is perfect. Just last night, in the middle of a fiery Jackson Pollock splattering of pitches that sent a dazed and confused Cincinnati Reds team to bed, Gagne walked raw rookie shortstop Felipe Lopez. But even the salt of the earth needs a dash of pepper once in a while.

Okay, last metaphor for a while. Here is the Gagne story, straight and true. And in fact, he is damn near perfect.

Last season, batters batted .189 against Gagne with an OPS of .535. Remarkable numbers. Atomic numbers.

This season, Gagne has split the atom. Through Tuesday, batters are batting .079 against Gagne with an OPS of .242.

He has faced 43 hitters this season. Three have singles. Three have walked, two intentionally. One has been hit by a pitch. That's all Gagne has allowed.

Gagne has struck out 20 of the 43 - nearly half. And yet, he has thrown only 151 pitches, averaging only 3.51 pitchers per batter. That means that aside from the 60 strikes that specifically account for his 20 strikeouts, Gagne has thrown only 91 other pitches to the 43 batters - an average of 2.11 extra pitches per batter. That figure accounts for all his balls, extra foul balls and those few hits. Amazing.

Since the beginning of 2002, Gagne has allowed runs in consecutive appearances only once: May 27 and May 29 against Milwaukee. He allowed one run in both, but had bigger leads to work with in both games and got saves in both games. Two runs in two games. That is Gagne's biggest slump.

Since the beginning of 2002, Gagne has allowed more than one run in a game only once. He allowed a two-run home run to Aaron Boone in Cincinnati, then hit Adam Dunn with a pitch. Dunn also scored, after Gagne was ejected for the game as if the HBP was retaliatory - even though it put the tying run at the plate. It was a condemnable event - but the only lowpoint in a season spent atop Mount Everest. (Okay, the metaphors are back.)

Tuesday night, Gagne returned to the scene of that crime and made things right again.

Eric Gagne is not out there day after day like Green, the Dodgers' most brilliant hitter but one who bebops frustratingly between blazing and arctic.

But without a doubt, Eric Gagne is the most exciting player on the Dodgers - because greatness is truly exciting. Greatness is liberating. And Gagne is great, every time out. It won't always be this way, but right now, it just is. Eric Gagne is Zeus on the mound, flinging lighting bolts at an awed civilization. Forgive the gushing of praise, but I am too tardy in expressing my appreciation for him.

Comments (178)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-12-12 10:30:04
1.   Howard Fox
and to the Rangers, of all places...
2006-12-12 10:30:20
2.   JoeyP
Speaking of closers.......

If the Red Sox can have the sense to make Jon Papelbon a starter, and the Cards have the sense to make Adam Wainwright a starter.....

Can the Dodgers do the same with Jon Broxton?

2006-12-12 10:36:45
3.   ssjames
2 Considering that we have about 9 potential starters right now, and the fact that when he starts Broxton's fastball is about 92-93, instead of 97-98 when he is pitching out of the bullpen, I would be against making Broxton a starter. Who would you take out of the rotation to put Broxton in?

I imagine based upon the drop in velocity that Broxton starting would be similar to Brad Penny, certainly useful, but not as useful as having something that may approach Gagne at his peak coming out of the pen.

2006-12-12 10:37:21
4.   jdm025
They talked about that, but they said that his weight made it nearly impossible for his stamina to hold up over 5-7 innings.
2006-12-12 10:38:24
5.   Greg S
I want to be mad at Gagne for deserting us. But if someone offered me $4M more in guaranteed money (and there's every chance this could be his last contract), I'd take it. If I didn't, my family would make me do so.
He's a great example of the business of baseball. We paid him $20M for two years of nothing. But we also got two years that were worth $20M for next to nothing.
In the words of REM: ohhhh... life.
2006-12-12 10:39:34
6.   D4P
Depo is a heartless robot for letting Gagne go
2006-12-12 10:39:47
7.   Greg S
4. Right. Tell that to Big Brad Penny. Seriously.
2006-12-12 10:42:23
8.   Snowdog
6 - Eric Gone-eh?
2006-12-12 10:43:29
9.   TellMeTheScoreRickMonday
Thanks for pulling up that post from the archives, Jon. He will be missed.

At least he didn't go to the Gnats.

2006-12-12 10:44:11
10.   D4P
Yeah, I remembered that old moniker earlier today. It's finally ripe.
2006-12-12 10:44:28
11.   Bob Timmermann
Bon chance, Monsieur Gagne!
2006-12-12 10:48:11
12.   natepurcell

I personally dont think papelbon or wainwright are going to excel at starters. but considering both of those clubs have needs in the rotation, i guess its reasonable to give them a shot.

2006-12-12 10:53:05
13.   GMac In The 909
The Texas Rangers: where all pitchers go to die


2006-12-12 10:53:11
14.   Sam DC
Yeah, but what does Bruce think?
2006-12-12 11:01:10
15.   Snowdog
10- ripe indeed. And it would be poor of me to wish him to "rot" in Texas.
2006-12-12 11:04:16
16.   Greg Brock

Au revoir Monsieur Gagne. Bonne chance.

2006-12-12 11:07:49
17.   D4P
I guess the bottom line is that Texas gave Gagne 4 million more Respect points than we were willing to
2006-12-12 11:08:28
18.   twerp
1) Guess we now know for sure about the hometown discount.

2) Think he'll like those Texas summers? He probably doesn't quite understand how they can be.

2006-12-12 11:10:57
19.   Xeifrank
$8 million?? So long, farewell... that's Juan Pierre money, and you my friend are no Juan Pierre. But if we could combine your arm with Juan's speed, we'd have a pretty decent fielding CFer. I have nothing "french" to add as I don't really like the french language. I was bitten by a french language as a young child. My neighbors have a french language, but the darn thing barks all the time and digs under the fence. vr, Xei
2006-12-12 11:16:35
20.   Jonny6
After the disappointing circumstances that surrounded Gagne for the past two seasons, I can hardly pretend that I am surprised at his departure and I suppose I don't begrudge him for taking the money and heading off to the baseball wasteland of Arlington. After all, I suspect that Gagne will never be able to fully recapture the magic of the 2002-2004 seasons. And that is what I really wanted back, the thrill and excitement that he brought to the Dodgers and Dodger stadium. I wish him well, but I would guess that he is leaving his best days behind him here at Chavez Ravine.

So now we are left with the nostalgia of the streak, the excitement of the Guns n Roses entrance, and the beauty of watching professional hitters flail madly at his circle change. I will miss it. Besides the constant presence of the Dodger infield - Garvey, Lopes, Russell, & Cey - that I followed in my earliest day of being a Dodger fan, and the sheer drama of the Gibson homerun, Gagne's dominance is the most memorable part of my time as a Dodger fan. During that glorious three season stretch, I would always carve out a few minutes of free time - no matter how busy I was or no matter what I was doing - to sit down and marvel at Gagne's late inning heroics. Electric moments, where the fans are transfixed on the action on the field and an entire stadium is focused on a tiny leather ball, are rare in baseball and for three seasons we were lucky enough to have Gagne deliver those moments in Dodger stadium on a near nightly basis.

Au revoir Monsieur Gagne!

2006-12-12 11:17:18
21.   regfairfield
The article Jon linked to says six million, which is it?
2006-12-12 11:17:41
22.   Gagne55
Well, I've got a new most hated player now. The Rangers don't happen to play in LA any time in '07, do they?
2006-12-12 11:19:39
23.   Xeifrank
$1.4 million for Saito and Broxton.
$8 million for Gagne.
You do the french!
vr, Xei
2006-12-12 11:21:47
24.   natepurcell
Well, I've got a new most hated player now.


2006-12-12 11:22:06
25.   D4P
This on

No team was more active at the Winter Meetings than the Dodgers, and registered users can chat with general manager Ned Colletti today at 2 p.m. PT. Fans can ask the GM about the team's playoff run in 2006 and its prospects for 2007.

So, do they really mean to delimit what fans can ask the GM about...?

2006-12-12 11:23:49
26.   Robert Daeley
25 Never mind that, what are the prospects for 2007 of the team's playoff run in 2006?
2006-12-12 11:24:21
27.   GMac In The 909
Gagne signed with Texas to avoid this guy:
2006-12-12 11:26:23
28.   Gagne55
24 Gagne is a traitor.
2006-12-12 11:30:23
29.   regfairfield
28 Because he went to a team that thought he was more valuable? Doesn't that make the majority of baseball traitors?
2006-12-12 11:33:47
30.   Snowdog
21- AP says $6m guaranteed plus $5m incentives.
2006-12-12 11:34:12
31.   Warren
Jonny6, very well said. I agree with every word you wrote.

I badly wanted the Dodgers to give Gagne one more year. But my feeling now is we made him a very fair offer and Texas was willing to double the guaranteed money.

We can't blame him for taking it. We can't blame the Dodgers for not going higher.

We got Gagne on the cheap for three great seasons and paid him nicely to sit for two more. So I think we're even. No one owed the other any favors.

And finally I must admit that living in Georgia I am rooting for Broxton to step up and carve out his own bit of Dodger closer history.

2006-12-12 11:34:33
32.   bhsportsguy
"In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot."

For a short time, 9th innings were not feared with dread but anticipated with joy and excitement and for that I thank Eric Gagne.

I hope he can find some decent maguro and toro in the plains of Texas.

2006-12-12 11:34:51
33.   saltcreek
28. Hes not a traitor. But this is a sad day. farwell gagne....
2006-12-12 11:36:53
34.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
Nothing to add but, Adieu!
2006-12-12 11:37:54
35.   Scanman33
Will Colletti recieve the same raking over the coals treatment Depo would have had this happened on his watch?

Merely a rhetorical question.

2006-12-12 11:38:02
36.   Midwest Blue
Rangers offer: $6 mill guaranteed, $5 mill in incentives.

Dodgers offer: $4 mill guaranteed, $6 mill in incentives.

They are very similar offers and Gagne should have given us a hometown discount like he said he would. I blame this on Boras, however.

28 Gagne55: Does this mean you'll be changing your handle now since you feel so strongly?

2006-12-12 11:39:11
37.   regfairfield
35 I don't think any fallout came from trading Izturis, so I doubt anything will come of this.
2006-12-12 11:39:19
38.   Michaelpop
Weirdly appropos that Gagne and Tower Records should be mentioned in the same breath, now that Tower is shuttering their doors. In another year's time I'm sure we'll have all but forgotten those glorious salad days. 2003 seems like an eternity ago.

I loved Gagne, and loved the electricity and excitement he generated. We never had a Bonds or Sosa or McGwire or Pujols to give us yearly home run records, but we had Gagne and his consecutive saves record, and that was just as exciting, in a way.

I'm sad to see him go, but at the same time, in my heart of hearts, I know that he'll never again be the pitcher that we remembered, and that makes his departure a little easier to swallow.

2006-12-12 11:41:57
39.   thinkblue0

But if someone offered me $4M more in guaranteed money (and there's every chance this could be his last contract), I'd take it.

I wouldn't.

2006-12-12 11:42:47
40.   Midwest Blue
38 Even though most of me agrees with you, some of me still yearns for the Gagne of old and thinks it could happen, just like the original Tommy John was able to come back.

But if you're right, then his departure should lift our memories of him to mythical, James Dean-like status, much like how we view Gibby these days.

2006-12-12 11:43:17
41.   Benaiah
For some reason I read Tower Records and thought of Empire Records that corny movie with Liv Tyler. I know people who swear by that one but I think it is horrible.

Losing Gagne is blunted by the fact that he hasn't been around for 2 years. It isn't like we have to quit him cold turkey, we have been weened off of him for a very long time. That said, he was easily the most exciting Dodger of the naughts and I can only hope that one day some young guy can electrify on a daily (well regular) basis like that.

2006-12-12 11:43:55
42.   Midwest Blue
39 My point is that i don't believe it's $4 mill more guaranteed-- only $2 mill more.
2006-12-12 11:44:05
43.   Xeifrank
Including incentives, the Dodgers could've paid Gagne $10 million per year. $4 million plus gauranteed. Considering Saito and Broxton together make only $1.4 million, I think we are better off without Gagne. Of course the savings is going to pay Luis Gonzalez for a gimpy year so that pretty much offsets the gains. vr, Xei
2006-12-12 11:45:38
44.   dstarr
Sad day indeed though not devestated. I'll root for him to suceed, but I'm not sure he'll stay healthy again.

He'll always be the Dodger of the '00s.

2006-12-12 11:45:59
45.   Midwest Blue
43 On the bright side, if Gagne does recover his old form, the contract is only for one year and we could bid on him next year ;-)
2006-12-12 11:47:02
46.   saltcreek
who knows...maybe we will get him back in a year
2006-12-12 11:48:29
47.   Warren
36 I'm just speculating but...

Maybe the incentives the Dodgers were offering were harder to meet than those offered by the Rangers?

Also, we have no idea what role Gagne was promised with the Dodgers. Saito is signed and the buzz going forward seems to be about Broxton (not to mention Yhency Brazoban coming back).

2006-12-12 11:50:56
48.   D4P
We never had a Bonds or Sosa or McGwire or Pujols to give us yearly home run records, but we had Gagne and his consecutive saves record

Gee, what do all these guys have in common...

2006-12-12 11:51:48
49.   Michaelpop
41 - Exactly. It's one thing to lose Gagne after him coming off another dominating season, but another to lose him after his replacement (well, his replacement's replacement, anyway) had a dominating -- dare I say Gagne-like -- season of his own. Long-live Saito-time.
2006-12-12 11:52:24
50.   Greg S
39. Okay. But it's certainly an understandable choice. For the player, this is the real world. Not just a game but the life they have for themselvers and their family. I'm sure he values being a Dodger. Just not $4M in value. You might say he has plenty but that's his life and his choice. This could easily be the last dollars he earns. He's not Juan Pierre rich.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-12-12 11:53:51
51.   Greg Brock
We don't even know where Gagne is at this point. He signed before working out for any teams, which makes me skeptical, and has thrown 16 innings in two years.

I'll miss him a tremendous amount, and I wish him the best, but this is hardly a dark day. I hate overpaying for closers anyway.

2006-12-12 11:56:00
52.   D4P
He signed before working out for any teams

But his agent had some old workouts on glossy video

2006-12-12 11:57:53
53.   Greg S
51. Right. If you want to be mad, be mad at The Rangers for wildly overpaying him.
2006-12-12 12:01:01
54.   goblue1
Once (Dreifert) bitten, twice (Gagne) shy. Good miss.
He will be average at best in Tex.

How do you spell bitter in SF?

2006-12-12 12:02:06
55.   dianagramr
Good grief .... from the headline, I thought something terrible had happened to Vin! :-(


Do high-K rate pitchers who don't allow a heck of a lot of balls to be put in play really die in Texas?

(not saying Gagne will be his old self, don't if he IS his old self, maybe Texas won't be so evil to him)

2006-12-12 12:03:44
56.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
I hate overpaying for closers anyway.
Same here, unless the closer in question is guaranteed lights-out for a long stretch of time.
Mo Rivera and Trevor Hoffman are guarantees.
Gagne is not.
Actually, this may be the best ending for the Dodgers. He was too popular to trade, even though he is damaged goods. And his salary requirements meant using him as anything other than a closer would be an inefficient use of resources. (Not that I believe the richest man in the pen gets the saves, but that seems to be how it goes.)
2006-12-12 12:04:14
57.   Midwest Blue
27 Huh?
2006-12-12 12:04:20
58.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
56 - Make that "should get the saves..."
2006-12-12 12:05:10
59.   regfairfield
If, and this is a big if, Gagne can pitch, he'll still be dominant. Extremely small sample size here, but here's what Gagne did from 2004-2005.

15.3 innings, 25 K, 4 BB, 2HR

14.7 K/9 even with his lost velocity. If he can pitch, he should, at the very least, be better than Otsuka.

2006-12-12 12:09:26
60.   Andrew Shimmin
57- It's Gagne blowing the All Star game save, serving one up to Blalock--a Ranger.
2006-12-12 12:11:32
61.   bhsportsguy
According to Chris Haydock on his interview on

1. Andy LaRoche is recovering from shoulder surgery on his non-throwing surgery in AZ, should be ready to go by ST.
2. They project Greg Miller as a starter and will be working on building his innings, would not surprise him if he gets on the MLB roster after ST.
3. Justin Orenduff is recovering from shoulder surgery and will go to Vero Beach in January, while hopeful that he will be ready by ST, the latest will be in May-June when he starts throwing again.

2006-12-12 12:12:14
62.   Benaiah
Yeah, I don't see how anyone can say Gagne will be average at best. If he somehow comes all the way back then expect all the experts to chime in that the Rangers made the best signing of the off season. It's like Jon said, Gagne could split the atom. Meanwhile, if Gagne doesn't pitch an inning in the bigs then a lot of people will probably just pretend that 6 million didn't exist. If the Dodgers made that signing I would be happy. Better to spend 6-11 million on Gagne than ten cents on Pierre. Better to overpay from prime, than get fat and grizzle off the floor at a discount.
2006-12-12 12:12:23
63.   Bumsrap
There are some players that got stronger over night and then had physical ailments that made them sit out a year. Testing could keep some players from ever duplicating some of their previous feats.
2006-12-12 12:12:31
64.   Midwest Blue
54 So here's to the 2007 Giants, a team with no plan -- and worse yet, no pride. See you in fourth place, with a very unhappy superstar making everyone miserable.

Wow. What a bummer for SF. I'm so upset.

{closes door, laughs hysterically}

2006-12-12 12:15:43
65.   dianagramr

Well ... I do feel sorry for fans of the Giants (not the pro-Barry ones) who have watched their team turn into an AARP road show with no chance of contending.

2006-12-12 12:15:57
66.   Midwest Blue
60 Danks.
2006-12-12 12:15:59
67.   Robert Fiore
That does it, from now on I'm leaving after the 7th inning.
2006-12-12 12:18:31
68.   FelixP
I wonder if anyone will do a "Goodbye Gagne" song like the great "Goodbye Garvey" song of the early 80s. I think I have it on one of my Dr. Demento tapes I made off the radio.
2006-12-12 12:18:37
69.   paranoidandroid
I will miss you Mr. Gagne. Thanks for the thrills. I was out there on June 6th hanging on the fence watching you warm up for the last time in Dodger blue (for now anyway). You were clutching your elbow and forearm, I was concerned. You then blew away Carlos Delgado on a breaking pitch and I thought all was back in order, your first save on our way to the big dance.

Ah...I wish you all the best and hope you weren't juicing. In fact, I hope you have a great year and we sign you next time around. It was fun listening to that silly song when you came into a game. And that Game Over stuff on the scoreboards? You backed it up brother!

I will still wear your jersey with pride. I hope the Dodgers didn't make a two million dollar error.

2006-12-12 12:18:44
70.   Midwest Blue

{spit take}

You feel sorry for Giants' fans? Someone get me the number for the Nobel Peace Prize committee.

I feel sorry they have a team to root for -- even a fourth-place team.

2006-12-12 12:27:24
71.   dianagramr

Yes ... I do feel sorry for them ... a bit.
Its a different flavor of sorry than what I feel for fans of the Royals, Pirates, Devil Rays .... but still.

You don't think there are Giants fans who can't stand Bonds?

2006-12-12 12:28:16
72.   AlmostGagne
In all my years attending Dodgers games, I never saw the stadium as electified as when Gagne came in to close out the 9th. As a fan I'll miss those lockdown 9th innings with the fans jumping around - and I'll miss the fist pumping, the dirty hat, and his fighting with Giants players.
As the Eric Gagne Look Alike Contest First Runner-Up, I'll also miss his beautiful face. It's not often you get mistaken for your favorite person on your favorite team.
I wish Gagne the best of luck and hope he ends up back in Dodger Blue.
2006-12-12 12:36:46
73.   Xeifrank
let someone else (Texas) take the one year risk on Gagne at $6+ million. He will be a free agent at the end of this year. It just didn't make economic sense for us to sign him, when we have Saito/Broxton at $1.4 million and Gagne will get anywhere from $6-11 million. We don't need him at that price and he can get more elsewhere. It's like trying to wear a sock for a hat, it's just not a good fit. Perhaps in a year your head will shrink, so don't burn any bridges Ned.
vr, Xei
2006-12-12 12:36:57
74.   Benaiah
It is interesting that so many are hoping to see Gagne back in blue soon. I do too I guess, but I just assume that the Dodgers don't have much better than a 1/30 chance of resigning a player after he leaves. Think about it this way, if Gagne puts himself in a position where anyone is going to sign him, he will be very expensive.
2006-12-12 12:38:39
75.   paranoidandroid
We lost Gagne, but to the other league. The Padres signed away Greg Maddux, and added Jose Cruz Jr. yesterday.

Cruz Jr? Nobody wanted him for the league minimum for half the year last year when we realeased him in July. DePo loves those guys who can hit one out even if they hit .220.

Gagne might not have been a necessary part of the overall Dodger plan for 2007, but it stings to lose him from a fan perspective. He was also all over the marketing of the team for a few years, I guess Nomar will pick up the slack now. Who else is there really? I guess Martin who can develop a LoDuca sort of fan love. Nomar (ugly mug like Gagne) and Martin. Furcal too. The schedule poster from 2005 has Gagne, Izturis, Drew, and Kent on it. We still have Kent.

2006-12-12 12:41:24
76.   Uncle Miltie
25- I guess we should be expecting another appearance from Bruce.
2006-12-12 12:47:42
77.   Dane Bramage
I think this was a good choice by the Dodgers. Nobody really trusts that he can be healthy from this point forward. I will still miss him, however. Dodger Stadium rarely rocked as much as when everyone anticipated his entrance from the bullpen.

On a side note, Josh Rawitch has obviously been reading the comments regarding Ken Gurnick over here:

2006-12-12 12:49:22
78.   was it tims mitt i saw
do you think they'd play "Welcome to the Jungle" when he comes out in texas too?
i'd feel like he'd be cheating on me then.
2006-12-12 12:51:09
79.   Gagne55
Ok, I'm not so mad @ Gagne anymore. Have a nice time in Texas, Eric.
2006-12-12 12:55:01
80.   D4P
do you think they'd play "Welcome to the Jungle" when he comes out in texas too?

I think Gagne's new song for fans in Texas will be more along the lines of "Patience" or "Don't Cry"

2006-12-12 12:55:07
81.   Midwest Blue
71 There have to be Giants fans who hate Bonds, and they should vote with their pocketbook and refuse to go to Giants games in 2007.
2006-12-12 12:55:28
82.   Xeifrank
As wierd of an offseason as this has been, I still would have to consider the Dodgers as the favorites (slight) to win the NL West at this point. We may be slightly lighter on offense, but should be upgraded in the starting pitching department with the signing of Schmidt. The Padres look pretty sick again on offense and still don't have what I would call a starting second baseman. They are upgraded in starting pitching (Maddux) but not as much as we are. The Giants should be worse than last year. The Rockies have a pretty weak looking offense and should be a non contender. The DBacks have some very exciting young players but I am going to predict they will need another year before contending with the Dodgers and Padres.
vr, Xei
2006-12-12 12:58:45
83.   blue22
82 - Should Marcus Giles get non-tendered today, he'd most likely go straight to SD. That would be a nice boost to their offense.
2006-12-12 13:03:05
84.   dzzrtRatt
C'est la vie. Like Edith Piaf, Gagne should say, "Je ne regrette rien."

Texas is taking a measured risk with a a significant potential for reward -- or nothing. I wonder whether the insurance company is standing with them in taking this bet. LA didn't need to take that risk, because we have Broxton and Saito.

He could certainly come back. But we might not need him for a few years. Hating him hardly seems appropriate, but to each his own.

2006-12-12 13:06:09
85.   regfairfield
82 How so? I know I underestimate the Padres almost every year, but this is their offense:

C - Bard
1B - Gonzalez
2B - Walker
SS - Greene
3B - Kouzmanoff
LF - Branyan/Sledge
CF - Cameron
RF - Giles

The Padres pitching is scary, but that looks like a terrible lineup.

2006-12-12 13:07:00
86.   jdm025
I have a friend who is a Giants fan who has not been to a Giants game since '99 and refuses to buy any SF gear until he is off the roster.
2006-12-12 13:09:22
87.   Icaros

My favorite is "Estranged." I love the dolphins in the video. In fact, the song sounds like dolphins.

Goodbye, Eric. I could tell three years ago that you only cared about money. Guess you're no different from the rest.

2006-12-12 13:09:40
88.   jdm025
If the Dodgers offense is 90% as good as last year and our bullpen somehow doesn't implode, we will win 94-99 games.
2006-12-12 13:13:18
89.   micktissue
80 Achy Breaky Heart
2006-12-12 13:21:03
90.   fanerman
I'm more bitter about Gagne leaving than Drew. But I'm still very grateful he was here. Farewell indeed.
2006-12-12 13:22:39
91.   Benaiah
88 - I disagree. 90% of the 820 runs we scored last year would put us at 738 runs, which would have been the 25th best offense in baseball and the 11th best in the NL. No way we win 94 games with an offense that bad. This pitching staff isn't as good as the one we had in 2003.
2006-12-12 13:23:15
92.   gibsonhobbs88
69 - I was there on June 6th for his last appearance and save as well. Hmm, June 6, 2006, 6-6-6 ominous sign wasn't it?
I will miss the excitement he generated during his heyday from 2002-04. I believe the Dodgers made a fair offer of just $2m less guaranteed than Texas offered. You just hope a bullpen of Saito, Broxton, Beimel, Brazoban et al can hold the fort along with whatever pseudo starters don't make it into the rotation. At least the "hated ones" didn't get Gagne, I think the world would have tilted off its axis seeing Gagne in their hideous black and orange uniforms!:)
2006-12-12 13:26:47
93.   jdm025
Way too general of a statement on my part. I should clarify and say that our team can have a slightly worse offense and more than make up for it with the combination of improved pitching and the fact that the Giants, D-Backs, and Rockies are at least a year away from competing for the division (SF may be 3-5 years away).
2006-12-12 13:27:11
94.   Benaiah
91 - If we suddenly had the best pitching in the NL, ~675 runs against, our predicted wins would be about 88 with 738 runs scored. So our pitching would have to be much better than San Diego's last year (unadjusted for park factors) just to get to 90 wins, unless we got really lucky that is.
2006-12-12 13:28:06
95.   sanchez101
91. I don't think he meant "literally 90% less than last year, relative to runs scored." He just means that we can take a slight hit on offense, and still win that many games considering the improved pitching.
2006-12-12 13:28:07
96.   Andrew Shimmin
Using the James Pythagorean Theorem, if the Dodgers 2007 offense really is only 90% of what it was this year, they'd have to allow 123 fewer runs than they did this year (about fifty fewer than any team was able to), to win 94 games.
2006-12-12 13:28:32
97.   franklin
Perhaps Gagne knows he has nothing left in the tank and feels better about stealing the Rangers money than the Dodgers. Otherwise why wouldn't he work out for teams? It's like buying a Ferrari without an engine but the seller doesn't let you pop the hood or turn the key.
2006-12-12 13:28:43
98.   Benaiah
93 - Sorry didn't mean to follow up after you clarified, I just didn't refresh. My point being that we should be favored in the division, but only because the division is weak. If the offense isn't a lot better than it looks on paper then we will struggle.
2006-12-12 13:29:31
99.   Andrew Shimmin
Sure it was a pile on, but I wasn't going to let all that math doing go to waste.
2006-12-12 13:29:40
100.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
I will miss Eric Gagne. But as others have pointed out, we already have been missing Gagne for the past two seasons.

Gagne provided great entertainment value. There was a point during the 84 consecutive saves where I watched him three nights in a row, mowing down hitters who were basically scared of him, and not giving up anything out of the infield. It was just how he reared back and threw so damn hard to hit 98 mph and then looked like he was doing the same but snapping off a 72 mph curve and making hitters bail out and flail about. It made good television.

We can debate his future, but his past was unreal.

So long, Eric. Thanks for being the best Dodger for a brief time...

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-12-12 13:30:28
101.   adamclyde
as others have more eloquently said...

probably for the best of both parties, but still can't say I'm not sad to see the dodger-gagne thing end officially.

it's like when you reach finality to a longtanding, but "done" relationship. It's the best thing, but you always feel sad to see it go for good.

Best wishes to all on this one.

2006-12-12 13:33:01
102.   norcalblue
Admittedly biased, I must tell you that I am wondering why Gagne was not worth an offer in the $5-5.5 million range (Gagne said he would give the Dodgers a hometown discount), with some reasonable performance incentive that would have taken him to/or above the same figure received from TX.

Jon, your vivid 2003 description of Gagne's impact perfectly explains the melancholy being expressed by some DT posters. Frankly, I can think of no Dodger in the past 20 years that I would be willing to take a similar fiscal gamble. I believe your words from 2003 and the reaction they trigger explain that willingness for me and, perhaps, others.

Moreover, this seems like a gamble not beyond the capacity of our brilliant GM, who seems to place significant value on experience throught a roster (e.g., Lofton, Gonzo, Maddux, Martinez, Tomko) and as recently as the signing of Mr. Wolf seemed quite willing to take some risk on pitchers returning to form after surgery.

A final note: players acquired by Mr. Colletti and their salaries, who have commitments from Mr. McCourt for 2007:
$8,000,000 Randy Wolf
$4,100,000 Brett Tomko
$2,500,000 Mark Hendrickson
$7,500,000 Nomar Garciaparra
$7,500,000 Juan Pierre
$7,350,000 Luis Gonzalez
$1,150,000 Mike Lieberthal

Somehow I have to wonder how $5-5.5 million from this pot above could not have been found for Mr. Gagne......

2006-12-12 13:34:18
103.   Xeifrank
Preventing runs, wins more games than scoring runs. In other words, preventing 40 more runs per season helps more than scoring 40 more runs per season (if you could only do one or the other). vr, Xei

98. Kind of like the original statement. :)

2006-12-12 13:35:40
104.   Eric Enders
So, which hypothetical scenario would cause more heartache for Dodger fans:

1) Gagne goes to Texas and becomes Eric Gagne again, winning another Cy Young Award, retires in second place on the all-time saves list, and is inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019 wearing a Rangers cap on his plaque.

2) Gagne's arm completes its disintegration in Texas. Out of baseball by age 33, he'll always be remembered as a Dodger, our generation's version of Pete Reiser -- for a fleeting moment, the best who ever lived.

2006-12-12 13:36:07
105.   Xeifrank
102. Schmidt $12.5mil
vr, Xei
2006-12-12 13:38:41
106.   El Lay Dave
I thought we released Greg Gagne years ago.

20 No equally fond memories for Fernandomania and the '81 series?

Hometown discount? What a euphemism! That's the dollar value the player (and his agent) have assigned to his comfort level with staying where he is with what he knows. If a player is willing to take more money to go to a new and unknown situation, I can't begrudge him that. The Rangers need to take a chance that Gagne can regain a significant percentage of his previous form; the Dodgers don't have to.

2006-12-12 13:40:41
107.   jdm025
As much as I hate the fact that he is no longer a Dodger, the fact that he is signed in somewhere other than Anaheim or San Francisco makes me less bitter. I would go for #2

Incidentally, I found a place online that would have made me a voodoo doll of him had he been wearing a SF uni next year.

2006-12-12 13:41:37
108.   jdm025
I meant #1
2006-12-12 13:46:04
109.   Benaiah
On the Marcus Giles front, he had an Alex Cora-like like 729 OPS last year (ok, Cora only got that high once, still). However, his BABIP was a minuscule .307, despite actually improving his LD% from 19.2% to 21.8% from 2005 (when he had a .826 OPS and a .337 BABIP) to 2006. In other words, Giles was unlucky last year. If we converted his BABIP to its expected .338, then his AVG becomes 288, and his line would be about 288/369/424. That isn't a great line, but that OBP is good enough that no one would be complaining about his production (well maybe they would on the team that employs Jeff Francquoer).
2006-12-12 13:47:14
110.   El Lay Dave
54 From that Giant's link: "This column will always claim that ... [Bonds is] the most sure-fire Hall of Famer since Mickey Mantle." What the hot, sulphurous place? Don't the, er, allegations, cast some doubt on Bonds future HOF status? Wasn't Henry Aaron a first-ballot HOF lock in April 1974 when he hit 715 off of our own Gentleman Al Downing (as if he wasn't already)? Willie Mays played and retired after Mantle did - wasn't he a gimme for HOF?
2006-12-12 13:48:24
111.   Benaiah
103 - How do you figure? Scoring more runs than you give up wins games, it doesn't really matter which way you manage to get more, just as long as you get more.
2006-12-12 13:50:45
112.   dzzrtRatt
97 This is the most creative "glass half-full" scenario I've read in some time. Gagne loves us so much, he's going to rob the bank down the street, not ours. What a guy!

My guess is he's confident he can pitch at his previous level, and wants to be paid at that level. To Gagne, the concession is that he's only agreeing to one year.

But I would prefer to live in your world.

2006-12-12 13:50:50
113.   sanchez101
98."My point being that we should be favored in the division, but only because the division is weak. If the offense isn't a lot better than it looks on paper then we will struggle."

How much weaker? Considering the personel changes, the biggest factor seems to be the loss of Drew. But, couldn't the Dodgers make up for his lost production at 3B, where the Dodgers received next to nothing offensively:

Drew: 43 BRAR 27 BRAA in 124.9 adj. games played

Izzy-Betemit-Aybar-Mueller combined:
11 BRAR -7 BRAA in 124.6 adj. games

So in the same number of games for each position (Drew played RF as much as Izturis, Betemit, Aybar and Mueller combined at 3B) the Dodgers got 54 BRAR and 20 BRAA from 3B and RF combined. Can we expect about 10 runs above average from both RF and 3B?

Betemit would have to hit like he did last year in Atlanta, and Gonzo would have to play slightly better than he did last year in Arizona. With Kemp and LaRoche in the mix, its tough to tell, you need something like a .280 EQA at each position.

2006-12-12 13:51:58
114.   Xeifrank
111. The pythagorean theorem states so.
Simple example:
Over a week your team scored 25 runs and gave up 25 runs. Now you can either add 25 more runs or prevent 25 runs. Which would you rather have.
A) Score 50 runs, give up 25.
B) Score 25 runs, give up 0.
The same works for larger run amounts, just not as extreme. The simple example just makes it more clear (atleast to me) :)
vr, Xei
2006-12-12 13:53:07
115.   MSarg29
I just want to say I'm really sorry to see Gagne go. He will probably will never be the same pitcher he was in 2002-04, but I'm disappointed nonetheless.

After years of watching the Dodgers send incompetent relievers to the mound and coughing up leads, Gagne was a true joy to watch.

This may of been the right business decision but it still stings.

2006-12-12 13:53:18
116.   El Lay Dave
104 #2. How ex-Dodgers perform, or don't perform, in the American League sways my emotions about as much a gentle breeze alters the course of a 98 mph fastball. Hate to see players physically blown out though.
2006-12-12 13:55:59
117.   D4P
My guess is he's confident he can pitch at his previous level, and wants to be paid at that level

My guess is he wants to be paid as much as he can regardless of the level at which he pitches

2006-12-12 13:56:26
118.   Disabled List
104 I think this might be a little more likely:

3) He goes to Arlington for a year, stays relatively healthy, and has a reasonably decent season. He then signs a multi-year deal with the Rangers or some other team, and goes on to have a productive finish to his career, with the occasional stints on the DL. He won't be nearly as dominant as his 2002-04 heyday, but he'll be good for between 30-40 saves and half a dozen or so blown saves a year.

Basically, he turns into Lee Smith.

2006-12-12 13:59:20
119.   goblue1
I can't get enough of this....

2006-12-12 14:05:21
120.   Curtis Lowe
Jason Jennings to Houston for Hirsh,Bucholtz, Taveras

Brad Penny's value has just sky rocketed!

2006-12-12 14:05:59
121.   El Lay Dave

Seattle to sign 35 year old Miguel Jerez (Decartes)^^^ Batista for 3 years, $24-27 million. How does Bavasi hold on to a GM job? Does this lower the bar further for Randy Wolf to be a steal?

^^^ I pitch, therefore I'm paid

2006-12-12 14:06:21
122.   jdm025
2006-12-12 14:06:36
123.   Benaiah
113 - We replaced Drew with Gonzo and Lofton with Pierre. Other than that, the rest of the lineup is the same. Betemit will play the whole year and maybe Kent is healthier. I doubt that we will lose 10% of our offense, but we will definitely lose some, unless the kids play their way onto the team fast.
2006-12-12 14:07:29
124.   JoeyP

Lots of assumptions:

*Assume Nomar doesnt drop off any
*Assume Kent doesnt drop off any
*Assume Betemit hits like he did in Atlanta (he's never been an everyday player before)
*Assume Furcal puts up another career year (2006 was his best season)
*Assume Martin maintains his level
*Assume Ethier maintains his level
*Assume Gonzales improves over last season

Is anyone confident about even one of these things, no less all of them? There's lots of room for drop-off from last year, but there's not much room for improvement.

Furcal's the only "in his prime" good position player we have.

Kent, Nomar, Gonzales--all well past their prime

Ethier, Martin, Betemit--relatively young, not completely proven

Pierre--just isnt good to begin with

2006-12-12 14:09:05
125.   jdm025
Once Penny is gone, I can really see Colletti fielding at least 3-5 legit offers for Penny. I have said it before, and here again: Penny, Betemit, and a throw in (Anderson, Werth) for Rolen.
2006-12-12 14:09:25
126.   JoeyP
120--Thats a good deal for Houston.
Taveras is basically Juan Pierre---useless.
Bucholz/Hirsh arent exactly great prospects.

Very good deal for the Astros.

If anything, this might decrease Penny's value, if all Houston had to give up was some spare parts for Jennings.

2006-12-12 14:09:31
127.   Curtis Lowe
124- "Lots of Assumptions"

Could'nt this be said about anything in life?
Assuming life isn't all an algorithm.

2006-12-12 14:10:05
128.   jdm025
"Once Penny is gone..."
Dang it. Once Zito is gone...
2006-12-12 14:11:01
129.   Curtis Lowe
126- Horrible deal for Houston.

Jennings isn't exactly great and Bucholz and Hirsh are promising young prospects to go along with an improving CFer in Taveres.

2006-12-12 14:13:30
130.   Xeifrank
120. Link please.
vr, Xei
2006-12-12 14:14:28
131.   Benaiah
126 meet 129.
2006-12-12 14:14:50
132.   Eric Enders
126 That's an unspeakably awful deal for Houston, IMO.
2006-12-12 14:15:14
133.   Robert Daeley
Rockies/Astros trade story:

"The Rockies will receive center fielder Willy Taveras and right-handers Jason Hirsh and Taylor Buchholz for Jennings and right-hander Miguel Asencio, major-league sources said."

2006-12-12 14:15:28
134.   natepurcell
wow i cant believe houston gave up Hirsh for Jason Jennings.

Hirsh is like a Josh Johnson clone.

2006-12-12 14:15:42
135.   jdm025
The only reason that I would disagree is that Penny is under team control for 3 more seasons including his option year and will be making less money than Meche, Padilla, and Lily over the same period. Even though his fall the second half of last year was bad, I think there will be a market for the guy.
2006-12-12 14:15:45
136.   Curtis Lowe
2006-12-12 14:15:57
137.   natepurcell
Very good deal for the Astros.

not uhh...really.

2006-12-12 14:16:17
138.   natepurcell
Im mad, I want Jason Hirsh!
2006-12-12 14:17:10
139.   robohobo
If Gagne can pitch again at all, I think he will be effective, regardless of whether or not he can still throw hard. He will be effective for the same reason that Hoffman is effective. He has a very good changeup. His few innings in the last 2 years has shown that to be true. I can see why Ned didn't resign Gagne, but comparing signing him to the risk of signing Randy Wolf is valid. It would have been pretty cool so see Gagne on the mound in Dodger blue.
2006-12-12 14:17:39
140.   Uncle Miltie
126- Hirsh dominated the minors and could be a good breakout candidate in the next few years. Buchholz isn't that great, but he has a really good curveball and slider. He could be a decent reliever in the future. Taveras is a great defender, but mediocre hitter. He's the right handed Cory Sullivan.

Jennings is a year away from FA and is probably a #3 starter. Looks like a steal for the Rockies.

2006-12-12 14:18:00
141.   natepurcell
Astros could have had Penny for Hirsh and Hunter Pence.

come on Ned, get on this market!

2006-12-12 14:18:36
142.   jdm025
I had heard of Hirsch, but wow...

His numbers in AAA are scary good.

2006-12-12 14:20:07
143.   Xeifrank
yeah, I'd think Hirsh himself is as valuable as Jennings. I guess Houston preferred the known quantity over the higher long term ceiling. vr, Xei
2006-12-12 14:20:11
144.   regfairfield
Tavarez is Juan Pierre light offensively, but is amazing defensively which plays well in Coors. If the Rockies have enough offense to cover for him, he's a valuable asset. Buchholz doesn't impress me, but Hirsh is a huge grab. If his ability to supress home runs transfers to Coors he could come close to replacing Jennings.
2006-12-12 14:20:38
145.   natepurcell

Hirsh is a huge pitcher, towering around 6'7/6'8. He gets great downhill action on all his pitches which significantly helps limit long ball tendacies. His numbers in the majors last year shouldnt be taken too seriously- hes going to be a good #2ish pitcher.

2006-12-12 14:20:48
146.   regfairfield
Oh, and the Astros are only getting one year of Jennings. Terrible move for them.
2006-12-12 14:21:51
147.   jdm025
With the lack of positions on the big club this year, I hope that Colletti can get a younger prospect along with a proven hitter for Penny and one of our prospects. Until your comment, I had never really given too much thought to trading Penny for prospects.
2006-12-12 14:22:03
148.   natepurcell
Colletti needs to capitalize on this market. stop trying to zero in on the mythical big bat. Get a bounty for Penny to help the teams 2008-2012 title runs.
2006-12-12 14:22:09
149.   Robert Daeley
146 Unless they can sign him to a new deal.
2006-12-12 14:22:50
150.   Xeifrank
The guy over at "Bad Altitude" is going to FINALLY have something to write about. :)
vr, Xei
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2006-12-12 14:23:55
151.   natepurcell
The rockies are making some nice moves to get young pitching.

Now if only they had picked andrew miller instead of Greg Reynolds in the draft...

2006-12-12 14:24:07
152.   Eric Enders
145 Hirsh's numbers in the majors last year are actually not that bad. Almost all the damage against him was done in one game.
2006-12-12 14:24:35
153.   Midwest Blue
So does this mean that Clemmens is definitely not coming back to the 'Stros?
2006-12-12 14:24:52
154.   regfairfield
149 Would you really want to negotaite with Jason Jennings in this market? He could command a huge salary and could easily flame out.
2006-12-12 14:25:13
155.   jdm025
Even with a long term deal, they will have to pay him around 8-12 mil per season (depending on the year he has this year). I gotta think that they could have swung a better deal than that.
2006-12-12 14:25:23
156.   Robert Daeley
Hey, check it out. Pirates claim Franquelis Osoria off waivers.

(under press releases)

2006-12-12 14:26:22
157.   Eric Enders
156 Revenge for Duaner?
2006-12-12 14:26:52
158.   jdm025
I think that if he plays, it will be for either Boston or the Yankees.
2006-12-12 14:28:05
159.   jdm025
Tracy really likes his old players...

They will probably sign Jason Phillips to bat fourth and play first any day now.

2006-12-12 14:29:49
160.   Uncle Miltie
At least this move gets Jennings' bat out of the division.
2006-12-12 14:30:25
161.   Robert Daeley
159 I think the Blue Jays re-signed Phillips recently to backup Zaun.
2006-12-12 14:31:49
162.   El Lay Dave
Interestingly enough, on baseball reference, Brad Penny is most similar to Vicente Padilla (just signed to 3 yrs, $33) and the aforementioned Mr. Wolf who is considered a market bargain at 1 yr, $8 million. Brad Penny is guaranteed $17.5 million for the next two years, if they Dodgers buy out 2009, or $24.75 for three years. Don't you think Ned is tempted to just hold that poker hand of pitchers he's got and play 'em?
2006-12-12 14:33:23
163.   Uncle Miltie
Omar Infante will keep his roster spot after the Tigers decided to non-tender only Alexis Gomez on Tuesday.
Infante is being shopped around with both Neifi Perez and Ramon Santiago signed for next year, but it might not be a bad idea for the Tigers to hang on to their one backup capable of putting together more than one good at-bat per month. It would have made sense to jettison Santiago, who is basically the same player as Perez.
I'm a big Infante fan. He'd be a much better utility player than Lucille as he plays pretty solid defense at both SS and 2B. He showed flashes of his potential in 2004. He'd be a great buy low candidate. Ned wanted Lugo, so why not Infante?
2006-12-12 14:39:59
164.   jdm025
Am I missing something?

It looks as if Ramon Martinez will back up 2B and SS while Loney will back up some LF, RF, and 1B with Saenz seeing about 10-20 games at 3B for Betemit. Is that the extent of our back ups in the infield?

If so, God forbid Furcal gets hurt.

2006-12-12 14:40:54
165.   Curtis Lowe
164- If that happened Hu would take his place?
2006-12-12 14:41:07
166.   Uncle Miltie
Someone ask Ned about the status of Brazoban and where he fits on the team
2006-12-12 14:41:07
167.   regfairfield
164 If that happens, I assume Betemit plays short and LaRoche plays third.
2006-12-12 14:42:27
168.   jdm025
Is he ready for that? He hasn't even seen AAA pitching yet. If I see Robles get a single at bat this year, I'll just have to vomit.
2006-12-12 14:43:31
169.   jdm025
That makes sense.
2006-12-12 14:46:58
170.   Xeifrank
Creo que, Ramon Martinez y Oscar Robles would back up Furcal at SS. vr, Xei
2006-12-12 14:47:57
171.   Andrew Shimmin
Colletti chat transcript:

2006-12-12 14:48:01
172.   Xeifrank
wow, new post up top already.
vr, Xei
2006-12-12 14:48:48
173.   Snowdog
103 - that Pythagorean bit. I'm not buying that.

A team that allowed 600 runs and scored 600 runs would have 81 wins.

Team A prevents 25 fewer runs the following year: 600 runs scored; 575 runs allowed
This nets 84 wins

Team B scores 25 more runs the following year: 625 runs scored; 600 runs allowed.
This also nets 84 wins

2006-12-12 14:50:01
174.   El Lay Dave
164 Marlon Anderson has played 678 games at 2B in the majors, but not a bit of SS. There's a very experienced SS over at first, but no one's going there!
2006-12-12 14:50:44
175.   Eric Enders
Eric on Eric: A Valedictory

I always felt a connection with Eric Gagne moreso than other Dodgers: We're about the same age, we share the same name, and people everywhere seem to think we look exactly alike. For the last five years, literally hundreds of friends, acquaintances, and perfect strangers have commented on this. I've accumulated quite the collection of Gagne figurines, photos, and memorabilia that people have given me as gifts because of the resemblance. (The givers are always surprised to find that they are not the first to think of this.)

The first curious event happened in Montreal in 2002, when I was milling around on the playing field before a Dodgers-Expos game. A kid called out to me from the stands: "Monsieur Gagne, can I have your autograph?" I wasn't wearing a baseball uniform, and I stand at least six inches shorter than Gagne, but that didn't seem to make a difference. (We are similarly rotund, alas.) As much as I'd have liked to -- just once in my life -- sign an autograph like a real big league star, I had to burst the kid's bubble and tell him the truth. Later that night, my alter ego blew a save in front of his hometown crowd, the third of what would be only six blown saves in his career as Dodger closer. (And let me tell you, whoever says Montreal fans don't care about baseball has never been to a game Gagne pitched there.)

Denver, a year later. I'm in the clubhouse interviewing Paul LoDuca when Shawn Green walks by and does a double take as he looks at me. Green, forever destroying my notion of him as an ultra-reserved guy, gets a silly grin on his face and proceeds to grab me by the arm and parade me around the Dodger locker room, introducing me to every single player as Gagne's cousin visiting from out of town. Some fall for it, some don't, but a good time is had by all.

Cincinnati, 2006. I'm sitting at Ethier's locker doing an interview when I hear a disembodied voice from behind me: "Hey, it's Gagne!" This time it's Kenny Lofton playing the Shawn Green role. Lofton's upset that the resemblance is imperfect because I'm dressed in my journalist uniform instead of a Dodger one. So he asks my hat size and dispatches clubhouse guy Mitch Poole to fetch me a Dodger cap. Now that I'm properly attired, Lofton prances around the locker room with me, showing off his new discovery. Since no players are left from the 2003 team except Gagne himself, nobody remembers that Shawn Green has already done this. My attempts to return the cap are rebuffed, my journalistic ethics compromised, but again, a good time is had by all.

So adieu, Monsieur Gagne, my Dodger lookalike. Thanks for the Bugs Bunny changeup. Thanks for the fist pump and the cool-looking t-shirt. Thanks for caring enough to get ejected even when you were on the disabled list. And thanks for the free cap.

2006-12-12 14:53:10
176.   Jon Weisman
That was great, Eric.

New post up top.

2006-12-12 15:32:55
177.   norcalblue
162 Ned wants to trade Penny as soon as he can in order to eliminate any evidence that Depo might have made a move that helped this team. Look for Lowe to be dealt at the first opportunity as well.
2006-12-12 18:33:35
178.   Dodger Jack
Trading Penny for Andruw Jones would have made sense had Ned not signed Pierre. I really like trading Penny (plus Betemit) for Rolen, a trade possibility reported this week. I have to believe that Ned is dangling Ethier as well, especially if he is angling for another outfielder.

What is the book on LaRoche and Greg Miller? The former was supposed to be suffering from some kind of shoulder injury. At last report, he declined surgery and was looking for it to heal on its own. Am I accurate? As for Miller, does he have a shot to be the pitcher he was before surgery? Is he fit enough to start again? Can he be a long relief specialist for the Big Team?

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