This Day In Dodgers History: Eric Gagné Signed 2-Year Contract
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Jeff Lewis/USA TODAY Sports

Eric Gagné and the Los Angeles Dodgers avoided an arbitration hearing on January 18, 2005, when the right-hander singed a two-year, $19 million contract. The deal came hours before Gagné and the Dodgers were due to exchange salary figures.

They had gone through the arbitration process a year earlier, which went in favor of the Dodgers. A panel of three arbitrators ruled Gagné would receive a $5 million salary for the 2004 season rather than the $8 million he requested.

Then-Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta remarked at the time of striking the two-year deal he recalled informing Gagné the team preferred to avoid repeating the hostile process.

From August 2002 to July 2004, Gagné set an MLB record by converting 84 consecutive saves. He finished the 2004 season with a 7-3 record, 2.19 ERA, 55 saves in 57 opportunities, and 114 strikeouts against 22 walks across 82.1 innings pitched across 70 games. He earned All-Star Game honors for a third consecutive season.

But because of injuries, Gagné was limited to just 16 games over the lifetime of his two-year contract. He went 1-0 with eight saves and a 2.70 ERA in 2005, then only managed to make two appearances the following season.

Gagné finished his Dodgers career with a 25-21 record, 161 saves, 3.27 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 298 games (48 starts) over parts of eight seasons. He won the National League Cy Young Award in 2003 and along with three All-Star Game selections, garnered votes for MVP from 2002-2004.

The Dodgers signed Gagné to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to 2010 Spring Training, but nothing came of it. L.A. then was among the teams with reported interest in their former closer as he mulled a comeback in 2017, though that ended in favor of a transition to coaching.

Gagné: Jansen ‘best closer in Dodgers history’

Kenley Jansen overtook Gagné as the Dodgers’ all-time saves leader in 2016, and the former record holder was proud to see a new name atop the list.

“It was just a matter of time,” Gagné said of Jansen breaking his record. “He is the best closer in Dodger history.”

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