Dear Brewer Fans,
Continuing my season-long series of letters to Milwaukee Brewers fans (this being my second in the series), I modestly propose that we all give Eric Gagne a second chance.
I acknowledge that half of the people reading this are staring at their screen and calling me crazy, but my idea really isn't that crazy.
To summarize Gagne's 2008 season for Milwaukee—it stunk. He started out as closer, but quickly was demoted to middle reliever. He eventually worked his way up to set-up man.
The 33-year-old from Canada posted a 5.44 ERA and blew 7-of-17 save opportunities. He walked 22 in 46.1 innings and only fanned 38.
Not only were his stats bad, but he wasn't exactly the fan-favorite in Brew Town.
Gagne was "booed" numerous times by the home fans.
It seemed like the Brewers and Gagne were through until, to the surprise of many, general manager Doug Melvin signed him to a minor-league contract on Feb. 17.
With the contract being only for a minor-league spot, Gagne is not guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster. But Gagne still signed, even though he probably could have gone somewhere else and gotten a guaranteed big-league contract.
He said that he chose Milwaukee because he felt he had something to prove to Brewer fans, which was true. Gagne, if given the opportunity, can become a consistent producer in the Milwaukee bullpen, as he was later in the season.
Gagne turned down an offer to play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic, saying he wanted to keep fighting for a spot on the roster.
He showed by turning down that offer that he was devoted to becoming one of the 25 members of the Milwaukee Brewers on Opening Day.
Eric Gagne used to the best closer in the game. Just because he had a few disappointing years, that doesn't mean he can break through. Just look at Brad Lidge, who was perfect in save opportunities in 2008, bouncing back from lackluster seasons.
So, Brewer fans—and Ken Macha—let's give Eric Gagne a second chance in a Brewers uniform.