JC's Dodger Line Drives | Feb 16: Eric Gagne Hopes for a Return To LA

J.C. AyvaziSenior Analyst IFebruary 17, 2010

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 6: Pitcher Eric Gagne #38 of the Los Angeles Dodgers jogs onto the field during the game against the New York Mets during the game on June 6, 2006 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Mets 8-5. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Former Dodger closer Eric Gagne can represent the best of times as well as the worst of times for Dodger fans.

Some would say strains of "Welcome to the Jungle" still reverberate around Chavez Ravine. Others still feel disgust from the disclosure of his PED usage.

Wash away all the sweet and bitter and one fact remains, Eric Gagne's last dominant season as a closer is five years in the rear-view mirror. The chance of him recapturing anything close to that form is approximately equal to that of Tommy Lasorda passing up a free dinner.

The Dodgers have moved on, as any professional franchise must. Gagne's former role as king of the pen has been taken by Jonathan Broxton. There is a long line of capable setup men on the Dodger roster as well.

Would Gagne really be interested in becoming a middle inning mop-up man? That would seem to be extremely doubtful. Even more doubtful would be expecting the current closer and setup men to move over for someone who hasn't been able to bring the thunder for half a decade.

Then there are the unrealistic expectations of many fans who would expect Gagne to dominate as he did in the past...a. A past that had the benefit of PED's and the detriment of damaged ligaments.

Gagne has recently thrown for Dodger scouts. The team has neither made an offer nor decided if they wish to. Gagne has also reached out to the Rockies, who are managed by Jim Tracy, the Dodger manager during Gagne's glory days.

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The inescapable fact is that the Eric Gagne of the mid 2000's has left, not to return for any appreciable length of time. To try and believe otherwise is an exercise in delusion.

Come the end of the day, both sides would be disappointed with the results if the Dodgers and Gagne renewed their partnership.



On Friday Feb. 19, the Dodgers announced signing Gagne to a minor league deal. He will earn $500,000 with the possibility of doubling his pay via performance bonuses. This contract comes with an invitation to the major league camp and an out clause if he does not make the team.