This spring the Los Angeles Dodgers were once again joined in camp by former closer Eric Gagne as a guest instructor. However, this year differed from the past, as Gagne threw multiple bullpen sessions in preparation for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
But the 41-year-old also had his focus on a bigger picture. After last pitching in the Majors in 2008 with the Milwaukee Brewers, a comeback is on Gagne’s mind. In February, the Dodgers were reported among the teams with interest in the right-hander.
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, Gagne said he’s focused on signing with the Dodgers on a Minor League contract:
Eric Gagne said he's talking minor-lg deal with #Dodgers. 2 other teams “really interested, but right now I’m really focused on the Dodgers”
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) April 1, 2017
Los Angeles recently added veteran pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Justin Masteron on Minor League deals. Assuming Gagne is also signed, he’d presumably head to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Over parts of eight seasons with the Dodgers, Gagne recorded 161 saves with a 3.27 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. He was a three-time All-Star from 2002-04, and won the 2003 National League Cy Young Award when he converted all 55 save opportunities and yielded a 1.10 ERA.
From 2002-04, Gagne converted a Major League record 84 consecutive saves. But his legacy was tainted when Gagne’s name was was included in the Mitchell Report in 2007 for using HGH. In 10 Major League seasons with the Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, the Canadian native recorded 187 saves with a 3.47 ERA.
He threw 2.1 innings with one walk and two strikeouts during a lone appearance in the WBC.