It's finally official, Eric Gagne's career as a Los Angeles Dodger is over. Gagne has signed with the Texas Rangers, new home of Kenny Lofton, reportedly for $8M over one year.
Given the Dodgers' offer of $4M (escalating to $10), it seems reasonable that Gagne would go for the higher-value contract (after all, his agent is Scott Boras). No hometown discount was going to apply. We knew it, he knew it, and unfortunately now the cold hard facts confirm it.
brings a close to an era which was one of the most exciting and electric environments that Dodger Stadium has seen. LA fans staying to the end of a game was remarkable in itself--but the aura, the buzz of "Welcome to the Jungle" playing over the speakers, the "GAME OVER" messages on the scoreboard, and his goofy trot out to the mound from the bullpen--it was a sight to behold, and something really special to watch. And it was something to hear, too--Vin Scully's "Bienvenue, Monsieur Gagne!" coming out of the bottom of the eighth inning was always a treat. Who would have thought that such a mediocre starter could win a Cy Young Award (2003) and have a two-year stretch as the most dominant closer in baseball?
Gagne's streak of 84 consecutive saves may never be broken. But even though Gagne is gone, we will always cheer for him elsewhere, and hate Chad Tracy.
Bon voyage, Monsieur Gagne.
UPDATE: Oui, the news is true. However, the AP is now reporting it's $6M plus $5M in additional incentives.