Posts Tagged ‘Eric Gagne’

The Anti-All-Decade Team

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Ask and you shall receive. Here are the worst players from the past decade. They are divided into four groups:

Little Suckers (top prospects who never panned out and did so in epic fashion), Wad Blowers (players who the Brewers spent a lot of money on…well a lot for the Brewers),Deadline Douchebags (players the Brewers got in trades and then would have preferred not to…not necessarily acquired at the deadline, I just wanted to use the word “douchebag”) and Gone Before Long (players who haven’t been heard of since sucking with the Brewers)

Little Suckers

1) Ben Hendrickson - P - A highly touted pitching prospect who did nothing but help coin the term “AAAA Player”. Telling  stat = 50 runs given up in 58.1 innings

2) Jorge de la Rosa - P - Another pitcher who was supposed to be excellent turned into a head case and barely made a serviceable reliever. He was traded for Tony Graffanino…ouch. Telling stat=6.23 ERA

3) Nick Neugebauer - P  - Nick was drafted out of high school and by 2002 was the 17th ranked prospect in all of MLB and the Brewers top prospect overall. He’s a pitcher, so are you sensing a trend? He was soon out of baseball after surgery in 2002. Telling stat = 2-8

4) Dave Krynzel - OF - Before there was TGJ, there was Dave Krynzel. He was the Brewers first round pick in 2000. He was a speedy outfielder who was projected to be a leadoff hitter. Never happened. Telling Stat = .188 BA.

Wad Blowers

1) Jeffrey Hammonds - OF - 3 Years, 21 Million in 2001 after his All-Star appearance in 2000. Hammonds was often hurt and could barely crack the starting lineup. Telling stat = .248 Batting Average for the Brewers

2) Jose Hernandez - 3B - 3 Years, 10 Million in 2000. He was the default Brewers All-Star in 2002, but that was also the year he was sat down 4 out of the last 5 games so that he wouldn’t break the MLB All-Time Strikeout in a Season Record. Telling stat = Struck out 498 times in 3 years which meant he struck out about once every three at bats.

3) Wes Helms - 3B - 2 Years, 4.5 Million in 2004. Helms was traded for Ray King and had a decent first season in Milwaukee. Problem is that season was 2003 when the Brewers drew the 3rd least amount of people into Miller Park in the NL that season. The fans that did see him knew he was slow, but it seemed that Melvin loved that rocket arm at third. Helms turned into the teams most expensive bench player after signing. Wes Helms wonders why the Brewers fans have such hatred for him and it’s for this reason: he is the exact fact of everything that went wrong with the team; Fat underacheivers who don’t seem to work on getting any better. Telling Stat = 23 HR’s in 2003. 8 HR’s total after signing the contract.

4) Eric Gagne - P - 1 year, 10 million in 2008. Gagne was brought in to be the closer of a team that just lost CoCo Cordero. He had a shaky time in Texas and Boston, but was the All-Time Saves in a Season record holder. By May, he lost his job to Salomon Torres and was the biggest blight on the 2008 season. Telling stat = Blew 41% of Saves.

5) Jeff Suppan - P - 4 Years, 42 Million in 2006. Oh we were so happy when Suppan was our Christmas present in 2006, but Suppan has been getting worse every year since. In fact, it was Jeff Suppan who started the last playoff game for the Brewers and surrendered 5 runs in 3 innings. Telling stat = 1.76 career ERA in Miller Park before signing. 4.29 career ERA in Miller Park now.

6) Bill Hall - IF - 4 year, 24 million in 2007. Man it hurts to put Hall here, because I really like the guy. He was great at short before JJ came around and he was great at third until the Brewers moved him to the outfield. Once he was moved to the outfield and given a big contract, it was game over for all. I guess Bill Hall from 2002-2006 goes into the All-Decade team and the 2007-2009 Bill Hall goes here. Telling Stat = 35 HR in 2006. 35 Total HR for Brewers from 2007-2009.

7) David Riske - P - 3 year, 13 million - I had high hopes for this guy who supposedly helped  Kansas City’s young Zach Greinke. The fact is, he hasn’t been healthy and has been a waste of money. Telling Stat = +2.21 - Difference in ERA for Riske between his time in the AL (3.40) and his time with the Brewers (5.61).

Deadline Douchebags

1) Chad Moeller - C - Part of the Sexson deal, Momo was just a poor hitting catcher but decent defensively. By decent, I mean he could block a Ben Sheets curveball. He will forever live in Milwaukee, though, because of his 2004 cycle.

2) Jose Capellan - P - Traded in the Kolb trade. Kolb was coming off of an All-Star year, but the Brewers traded him for fireballing Jose Capellan. I remember Ned Yost telling the fans how excited he was and how this kid will be an ace. By ace, he meant pain in the ass. Capellan pitched poorly and was rarely, if ever, able to dial it over 94. He whined about his status and was traded away to Detroit.

3) Scott Linebrink - P - Traded for minor league pitchers that the Brewers would like back. Linebrink was brought in to help the Brewers 2007 postseason run. He crushed it. Even though his final line with the Brewers doesn’t seem so bad, I remember the week plus stretch in August where he went 0-3 with a blown save and an 11+ ERA. The Brewers were out of it by September.

Gone Before Long

There are a ton of these guys so I’ll just blurb the rest of the way. Remember that they either were never really seen from again or were on the team for not very long. Or both.

1) Ruben Quevedo - P - I remember when a broadcaster said that they can’t tell the difference between his fastball and his changeup. Ouch. Fits into the Brewers starter with a 5+ ERA club. Quevedo is without a doubt my least favorite/most hated Brewer of all time.

2) Gary Glover - P - Another mediocre starter plugged in to fill gaps. Fits into the Brewers starter with a 5+ ERA club.

3) Wes Obermueller - P - There was a reason everyone loved Wes. I can’t remember what it was because his pitching stats were awful. Fits into the Brewers starter with a 5+ ERA club.

4) Wayne Franklin - P - Gave up the most home runs in a season (before Braden Looper got him off the hook)Fits into the Brewers starter with a 5+ ERA club.

5) Matt Kinney - P - Terrible pitcher during a terrible stretch of Brewers history. Fits into the Brewers starter with a 5+ ERA club.

6) John Vander Wal - OF - Fits into the “He was a starter for the Brewers?” Category.

7) Victor Santos - P - 4-13 season. Ouch.

8) Chris Magruder - OF - Backup outfielder who, in comparison, makes Jody Gerut look awesome.

9) Greg Aquino - P - Was around for 15 games in 2007. Gave up two huge home runs. Boom, outta here.

10) Elmer Dessens - P - We toasted Dos Equis for this pitcher on opening day in 2007, who was sent packing after 12 games.

11) Valerio de los Santos - P - Tyler told me that his 4 names were more than any single season win total he had as a Brewer. Seems about right.

Others that were also bad:

Royce Clayton (SS), Johnny Estrada (C) ( Who Tyler believes is still legging out his last grounder of 2007…haha), Ben Greive (OF), Paul Bako (C), and Henry Blanco (C).

Brewers Fan Favorite ‘09 - Round 1 Concludes

Monday, March 9th, 2009

This weekend, Villanueva and McClung rolled while the other two races were pretty tight. It was nice to see Chris Capuano get a respectable amount of votes probably meaning that not everyone has given up on the guy. Mat Gamel has the first upset of the Bracket, which tells us that Brewer fans are fed up with Bill Hall and are ready for the future. Mike Cameron was able to fend off the other top prospect, Alcides Escobar, but not by terribly much. Here are the final results:

Cameron DEF Escobar 60% - 40%

Gamel DEF Hall 59% - 41%

Villanueva DEF Capuano 73% - 27%

McClung DEF Riske 81% - 19%

Here’s the updated bracket:

This round might give us some more upsets and close matches:

[polldaddy poll="1441323"] [polldaddy poll="1441331"] [polldaddy poll="1441335"] [polldaddy poll="1441340"]

Polling for this round, which is the end of Round 1, will end Wednesday Night!

In the News (2/18)

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Brewers News

- As stated earlier, the Brewers re-signed reliever Eric Gagne to a minor league deal that reportedly gives Gagne the chance to option out if he’s not on the team at the outset of Spring Training. Even though Gagne hasn’t probably recieved much interest this offseason anyway, I personally think this was a very good move..typical Melvin: low risk, low cost.

- Corey Hart agrees to a deal and Melvin’s streak continues.

- Gallardo doesn’t have the top rotation spot…yet.

- A nice look at Maryvale for those who are interested in checking out some Spring Training Baseball

- Braun stands up for Miami Alum-mate Alex Rodriguez.

- Jeff Skiles will throw out the first pitch on opening day. Skiles, who lives in a suburb of Madison, was the first officer of the US Airways that had to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River. It’s a very good choice

Minor Leagues

- T-Rats have a new, more energy efficient LED sign.

- Now that the top 25’s are done, BTGP and Bernies Crew discusses the Brewers’ prospects.

NL Central

- Even though most sports media outlets believe the Cubs already have the Central wrapped up, Jeff Breen at Bleacher Report hopes you don’t believe it. Don’t worry, I don’t. The Cubs have traded away a lot of pieces and seemingly have not gotten much in return. Milton Bradley is a big gamble too, don’t believe the hype. As a Brewer fan, we’re hoping their Stratego gets into some Trouble, and they go KerPlunk or Splat and the whole team turns into a Barrel of Monkeys. Cubs fans are probably hoping for Perfection or Yahtzee

Other News

- Commisioner Bud defended his decisions during the steroid era. He says that people who believe he turned a blind eye “annoys the you-know-what” out of him. Actually, I don’t know. Is it piss? sh*t? Anyway, most people already believe the blame lies more with the powerful player’s union that kept Bud from doing anything. That said, he can’t say he didn’t stand up for his sport. He saw money flying into baseball and he didn’t say anything publicly until it turned into a PR (and Congressional) nightmare.

- Corey Koskie’s trying a comeback. Good to see he’s at least trying after his freak injury.

Brewers Re-Sign Gagne, (Update) Avoid Arbitration Hearing with Hart

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Second verse much different than the first.

Tom Haudricourt drops in some notes from camp and indicates Milwaukee has reached an agreement with Cy Young winner and former Brewers closer Eric Ggane. It is reported to be a minor league deal. Under those circumstances, Haudricourt speculates it to be a one-year, incentive laden deal.

I’d expressed my desire for Milwaukee to look into re-signing Gagne in previous posts. He’ll likely compete for a seventh inning or setup (eighth inning) role in the bullpen, and will provide significant depth in case of injury.

For those who hate this deal - see it as a chance to redeem himself and actually earn some of the $10M he was paid last year. Good going, Dougie!

Update (5:14 p.m.): Haudricourt also reports Milwaukee and Corey Hart have reached an agreement and will avoid an arbitration hearing that would’ve taken place tomorrow. No financials are known. I’m glad to see Doug Melvin’s hearing slate remain clean - even if it pretty much renders THIS useless now.

Unpopular Opinions: Starting Rotation, Gagne, WBC, Hinske

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve heard more than enough about that plane crash in the Hudson River. I will admit that the pilots responsible for making a very difficult landing and saving everyone’s life should be commended for doing their job the right way. I’m glad everyone made it out relatively unscathed and tragedy was averted. What I’m not happy about is how much press this thing is getting.

This should’ve been a 30-second end of the newscast type thing, but to hear some fauxhawked choad’s prideful proclamation on Headline News that “this is the kind of thing you see in a movie!” as stock footage is incessantly looped – that’s too much. There have been so many more significant aviation incidents. Make a movie, for real? This Hudson River splashdown is like the “Corky Romano” of airline mishaps. It’s a cool soft news story, but let’s move on already.

Also, TGI Fridays (and all like franchises) sucks mandick. I’d honestly rather eat Tyson’s Any’tizers for the rest of my life than ever set foot in a Friday’s again. “Where every day is Friday!” More like, where every day is the food equivalent of your grandmother’s funeral.

Anyway, in unpopular baseball opinions –

McClung and/or Villanueva should be considered for the last spot in the rotation:
I’ve recently converted to the school Brewers fans who support a Braden Looper signing. For the money Milwaukee seems willing to spend on a starter, he’s about the best option out there. Jon Lieber would be a nice option to split time between the rotation and the pen based on need, but if neither of those are signed, I suggest Milwaukee just bump either Seth McClung or Carlos Villanueva into the No.5 spot and allocate the money set aside for a starter to bring in another bullpen arm. If either (or both, if alternated) of those two can string together a season even near what a low ceiling free agent would, it’d be worth it. A small sum of money can purchase a much better reliever than a starter.

Eric Gagne - Future past Brewer? It doesn’t have to be so:
After a season both he and most Brewer fans would like to forget, Eric Gagne has something to prove. Though he’s rumored to be close to a deal with the Twins, I wouldn’t be against Milwaukee making him a cheap, one-year offer to pitch in middle relief. He seemed to find his stride in the second half of last year, and could turn into a quality low-risk signing. Fans treated him like shit here (perhaps rightfully, I’m not the booing type), so I doubt he’d be interested, but why not dangle a line of redemption out there and see if he bites?

World Baseball Classic – It is what it is:
Not since Fidel Castro’s controversial nude scene on “Veronica’s Closet” has something that so few people watched inspired such controversy. If it’s not A-Rod playing for a country he’s never stepped foot in, it’s Brewers 25-man bubble-sitters opting to compete or Yovani Gallardo pitching for Mexico after missing most of 2008. My view is, it’s up the player. If Yo wants to risk injury and future earnings to will Mexico to a likely 3rd place finish, it’s his call. If Mark DiFelice, Rob Swindle, Vinny Rottino and Adam Stern want to punch their tickets to Nashville before Spring Training ends, let them. Trot Nixon will just take all of their spots.

Hinske Hintskes and a message to Tom:
I’m pretty sure Haudricourt has poached from us, among other evil blogs with our collective lack of access and, thus, knowledge. Whatever, meng… take what you want, misuse your MVP and Hall of Fame votes and continue to look like you’re on the verge of tears all you want, just do me this one solid. Drop some Hinske Hintskes to Doug Melvin and Gord Ash the next time you call them. Just slide in some comments during unrelated interviews or something…

TH: “Doug, do you think Trot Nixon has what it takes to be this year’s Eric Hinske – a versatile bench option that can hit 20 homers and steal 10 bases? Oh shit, Stash, now that I mention it… I just obtained a story from a blog I didn’t link to on my post that detailed how Hinske is available and is still the max tits. You should probably sign him now.”

DM: “That sounds a boot right!”

Make it happen.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - 2008 Decisions

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

This Week’s Topic: Think back through the entire year of 2008. What were the best and worst decisions made in 2008?

Jared -

I’d say the worst decision of the year had to be the Eric Gagne signing. Melvin needed to bring in somebody to close out games. The team looked like it could be competitive and somebody needed to pitch in the ninth with the lead. The market for relief pitchers was through the roof and Gagne got $10 million despite some injury concerns, declining velocity and his ineffective pitching at the end of the year in Boston. Every Brewers fan (and Doug Melvin too, I’m sure) prayed that Gagne could recapture the momentum he had in Texas previous to the Boston trade in 2007 and we all dreamed of him being as dominate as he was in his prime in LA. No such luck… Gagne struggled from the get go. He came back strong in a lesser role as the season progressed, but he was not worth anywhere close to $10 million. That said, the guy can pitch and he proved to be a class act. I’d be happy to see him in a Milwaukee uniform again in 2009, just not for $10 million…

An under-the-radar move that came back to haunt the Brewers was trading away Gabe Gross. Gabe is not a world beater, but he’s a decent player offensively and defensively. The team could have used a left-handed hitting outfielder many times during the season and Gross’ patient approach at the plate would have been nice off the bench or in spot starts, especially on a team full of free swingers. How nice would it have been to have that Gabe after our other Gabe (Kapler) got hurt and couldn’t play late in the season? Gross could have given Hart a few days off and maybe Corey would have shook out of that horrible funk he was in. The Brewers basically gave Gross away too…

I think the best decisions the Brewers management made in 2008 were the little ones. They filled the roster with veterans and role players and it worked out beautifully. Jason Kendall played outstanding behind the plate. Gabe Kapler came out of retirement to play a huge role as a reserve and spot starter. Russell Branyan provided a much-needed offensive spark as the Brewers were struggling in May. Salomon Torres filled in admirable as the closer. Ray Durham and Craig Counsell were important reserves and got plenty of starts too. Even Todd Coffey and Mike Lamb contributed down the stretch. Melvin and company did an outstanding job filling in the gaps on the roster and it was the difference between reaching the playoffs and watching them from home.

It’d be blasphemous not to mention the CC Sabathia trade as a great decision too. The big man put the Brewers on his back and carried them into the playoffs. The package Milwaukee gave Cleveland is impressive and one or more of LaPorta, Brantley or Bryson could easily turn into good Major Leaguers, but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. The moments CC and the 2008 Brewers gave us will be among some of my fondest Brewer memories for the rest of my life.

Jack -

I could go with the obvious answer here and say that the greatest move of 2008 was the CC Sabathia trade, but I think I’ll take the high road and find something a little more under the radar. My personal favorite move was the signing of Russell Branyan, who in his short time on the Milwaukee 25-man roster was worth 1.2 wins. Next, I’d go with the decision to put Gagne on the DL. Easily.

As I’ve already mentioned, the potential move of 2009 for me would be the signing of Joe Crede. However, hopefully that’s unnecessary, and Mat Gamel’s promotion to the ML level will turn out to be the big move of 2009.

On the other side of the spectrum, we again have an obvious pick for the worst move of 2008 – namely, the signing of Eric Gagne. But I think that clearly worse was the multi-year signing of David Riske, a player who was below replacement level last year and will likely continue to hover around that level.

The move going into the new year that I fear most is a possible signing of either Oliver Perez or Jon Garland. These are two players who have terrible peripheral stats but have nice and pretty W-L records and ERAs. I think that signings of these two could turn out as bad as the Suppan signing, and I hope we stay away.

Bryan -

There are two decisions that were the best this year: The first was signing Ryan Braun to a long term deal. The second was trading for C.C. Sabathia.

Ryan Braun is now the face of the team. I know big Prince is still a great leader, but the fans have this feeling that we know he’s going to chase the money in a bigger city so it limits our love for the big man. With Ryan, we have a young All-Star who says all the right things and is a complete team player. How many amazing moments has Braun already given Milwaukee? It’s amazing to think that I’ll be in my 30’s when Ryan Braun’s contract runs out.

The C.C. trade ultimately brought the Brewers to the playoffs. The Brewers were going to do their September collapse again, but C.C. wouldn’t let them. Yes he was costly and yes, we don’t even get a first round pick anymore, but for 4 months, C.C. was the biggest star in Milwaukee and the main reason the Brewers didn’t completely collapse again.

There were many more, such as the Kapler signing and Torres trade (which is still underrated by fans), but those two were the best.

As far as worst decisions go, Gagne was a rough one, so was Julian Tavares, perhaps it was batting the pitcher 8th, or using Cameron in the leadoff role, but one thing stands out in my mind as the worst decision.

This summer, we saw gas prices rise massively. It almost reached 4 and a half dollars a gallon. It became financially hard for many fans to make it to the game. Once fans were finally in the stadium, what did we see? A HUGE gas pump with numbers that kept going up, up, up all summer long! What an awful move by Citgo. I understand they put the thing up in 2007, but the decision to keep it was awful. Were they trying to find a silver lining to the gas price crisis? There are soooooooo many ways to tally home runs. There are soooooooo many ways for Citgo to promote themselves. But to have a gas pump rise all summer while real prices were rising causing fans to sweat more than ever was the worst decision of 2008.

Thankfully gas prices have fallen for now, but if they start climbing again Citgo should think about maybe sponsoring a concession stand instead of a giant gas pump. What would be smart would be for an investment company to put something out there so even though stocks are falling right now, the Brewers home run totals are up, up, up!

Tyler -

I’m probably not the only one who will mention this, but I view Eric Gagne’s one-year/$10 M contract to be Milwaukee’s most siazable front office error. As easy as it is to jump on Gagne, Doug Melvin and anyone else with bearing to this occurance now, I - as I know many others were - was happy with the transaction initially. Yeah, the price tag was a bit hefty, and Gagne’s directly preceeding bout with the injury bug and ineffectiveness in Arlington and Boston carried a great deal of uncertainty, but Milwaukee felt it needed to address the closer situation and went out and nabbed a player a few years removed from legendary closer status.

But alas, every legitimate worry of failure that accompanied Seth Rogen reincarnate was almost immediately realized, his mention in the Mitchell Report left Milwaukee’s brand new (ironically very old) bullpen with another PED-related black eye and the funds cherished by a mid-market franchise seemed sucked into an empty hole. Sure, he pulled it together to be a pretty good option for the 7th and 8th innings, but the price tag wasn’t fitting of a middle reliever. At the right price, I would welcome Eric back with open arms, and (as the current bullpen sits) even ponder letting him battle for the closer’s role in Spring Training. But you’d be hard pressed to find a fan who doesn’t feature Eric Gagne high on his or her (well hello, there) list of 2008 Brewers disappointments.

Get Pissed Joe - “I’m Scrappy-Doo Pissed” Edition

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

For the sake of the kids, I’ll be trying to edit this post, to the best of my ability, using cartoon names in place of cussing. Let’s do this.

First and foremost, WHAT THE BRAINY SMURF IS WRONG WITH THIS TEAM RIGHT NOW!?! There really is too much to be pissed at. What do I write about even? It’s tough to single out just one guy, such as Fielder, for sucking ass at the plate. How many double plays did the Crew ground into today? Does this team know the meaning of “clutch?” Do they even Wuzzles care?!? Above all, I have diminishing confidence in our bullpen. Which leads to my main topic today…WHY DOES YOST STILL PUT ERIC RAGGEDY ANDY GAGNE IN THE GAME FOR THE EIGHTH INNING?!?!? UN-SNORKS-BELIEVABLE!

(Note: As I’m writing this, JJ hit a walk off single to win Friday’s game. It only took about 17 opportunities and the Padres trying to give us the win by pitching a below-average, journeyman reliever for two innings. Obviously…still pissed)

Let me make it clear that I am no Yost basher. In fact, I’m usually a Yost defender. You might say I have a Yost Infection. Hardy har har. However, there is absolutely no reason Gagne should be pitching the eighth. What the Pink Panther does Mota have to do to get that inning? I guess giving up that one run since July 7 isn’t good enough for Yost. Apparently there is a quota of blown holds that needs to be met in order to fill the eighth inning position. I’m to the breaking point. In fact, I want to boo Gagne. I never boo. I wanna boo so Snorks hard that my balls hurt as much as Eric Gange’s damn well should. I’m so pissed that I need to take some cheap shots at him. Hey Eric! You look like a hippy. You suck! You’s a bum! Okay. Ouch. That’s enough. Don’t want to break his spirit. After all, he is our eighth inning guy. Jetsons!

You know what else pisses me off about him? Excuses…sometimes without saying a word. Is it just me, or is he the only pitcher in professional baseball that consistently has an issue with his footing? Seriously, how often do you need to Slimer with the mound or your cleats? Oh shit. I almost forgot about the goggles or glasses or dixie cups (whatever) that were all fogged up opening day. GD. What next? Your pretty pink barrette’s are going to start falling out of your hair causing more distractions? Man the Barney Rubble up!

Just to nail down my point. I think it’s necessary to show Gagne’s second half numbers in comparison with Mota’s. (We all know how much they both sucked in the first half) Here they are:

Gagne: 14.1 IP 9 ER 4 HR 5.74 ERA

Mota: 16 IP 1 ER 0 HR .56 ERA

The “proof is in the pudding.” I believe that’s what Uncle Jessie would say. I think it’s time for Eric to tell Yost to sit him for good this time. No take-backs!!!!

Who to close?

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

“I don’t deserve that ninth inning right now. It’s pretty simple,”

Those were the words of Eric Gagne after today’s loss. Obviously he was disappointed with the two runs he surrendered in the ninth, but it’s never good to hear that from the $10 million arm brought in specifically to serve in that inning. With five blown saves and today’s backwards tie-breaker, a change may be warranted and Gagne may have a point. With all that’s happened in the late innings of this young season, who should close?

The team has numerous capable arms to hold the closer role and/or man the ninth inning in situations like today. It may be unpopular, but I have my own take on the Brewers closer pecking order.

1. Eric Gagne: Plain and simple, Gagne was brought in this off season and paid handsomely to be the team’s closer. He may be immersed in one of the most wretched slumps in recorded pitching history, but I feel he should retain the role. Excluding a few control issues, he is making good pitches that are just being hit or - though I hate to drag umpires into this - not being called strikes. The one scary observation is a staggering loss in the velocity of his fastball.

One must also dissect exactly why some of these saves were blown. Most were due to his pitching, but I remember a certain Rickie Weeks throw, nay, bounce that failed to complete what would have been a game-ending double play. The best thing that can be done to resurrect the once dangerously dominant finnisher’s season in Brew City is to keep him in.

2. Guillermo Mota: Excluding a few lapses in perfection, Mota’s opperendi this season has been great. He can bring the heat, work out of pressure situations, work on short rest and go more than one inning. RotoWorld too alludes to Mota being a good choice to take the ninth should Gagne be extradited from the role.

3. David Riske or Salomon Torres: To me they are both equally fitting and equally unfit for basically the same reason. They both have saves under their belt and have both held down setup roles. Torres can pitch almost every day so it’d be a shame to displace a workhorse arm to what wold amount to significantly fewer innings. And Riske just hasn’t been too great to date, though he seems to be coming around. Closer by committee flat out does not work, and probably would not work here either.

4. Mitch Stetter: He’s a favorite of certain radio personalities on our terrible sports talk station to garner the closer’s role, but he’s one of only two lefties in the pen. With Brian Shouse as more of a pure situational lefty whose outing often last 1/3 or 2/3 of an inning, Stetter seems better fit for his current form of use. File Seth McClung and his current awesomeness in the “don’t mess with a good thing” file too.

5. Derrick Turnbow: It’s a fifth option for good reason. Need I spell out why this would be risky and have potential for more bad than good? No.

6. Dave Bush to close and either bring up Jeff Weaver or move Seth McClung to a starter role: This crazy, but Bush did close in college and - if he can pull it together for just one inning at a time, he could be great… then again if Gagne could just pull it together for an inning there would be no need for this post in the first place. This proposition has next to no likelihood of taking place; let’s save Weaver for when another starter goes down.

7. Make a trade: But for who and with what? The only teams I know with a plethora of qualified closers is my ironically-named fantasy team “Cubs Jr.” (make an offer, Jared) and… well, the Brewers.

Hate it as you may, I just hope Gagne’s statement was merely out of frustration and that he remains on the mound to end games the way we all know he’s capable of.

Who knows how this will all shape up, but you can be sure the next time Eric Gagne is called to the mound I will stand and cheer because he is a Brewer and he is trying his damnedest to do his job, and so long as he is a Brewer, I have to hope he will.

Gagne Speaks (Sort of)

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Eric Gagne

For the first time since his mention in the Mitchell Report, new Brewers closer Eric Gagne spoke to the media today and essentially said nothing.

Apologizing primarily for the distraction he was causing his family, friends and teammates, Gagne failed to once mention the Mitchell Report or any banned substance (in English version). And to that, I stand fairly disappointed.

Not to entirely rehash Jared’s earlier post, but admitting use (assuming he did, as many of those named in the Mitchell Report have already fessed up) seems the lone move with at least a shred of respectability amid such a deed so lacking in character. Even Gagne’s former teammate Paul Lo Duca (who was said to have purchased substances for Gagne) has recently apologized, though he too utilized a cryptic and open-ended apology to do so.

If anything, the fact that Gagne isn’t openly adressing the true issue at hand poses a considerably larger distraction to the Brewers clubhouse than a flat out admisson ever would. I hoped Gagne would have done the right thing and either admitted what he’d allegedly done OR stood up and fought for his innocence.

I take his one-minute long half-hearted apology as not only a sign of guilt - but as a precursor to a season long issue neither Gagne nor the Brewers will be able to dodge.

Gagne to speak tomorrow

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Eric Gagne

Gagne will break his silence on the HGH issue tomorrow, according to the Journal-Sentinel notes column. He will not be taking questions and will not address the situation again. He will address his teammates before practice though.

I’m glad he’s going to say something and I’m looking forward to hearing what it is. I really hope he just owns it. Something like, “I did it. It was a mistake. I regret it. I’m truly sorry to my former teammates and to fans of the game. I will prove on the field this year that I don’t need it to be a great player.” It would be much easier for me to forgive him and cheer for him this season if he said something like that.

I don’t want to hear any of these now famous excuses:

- “The report is false.” - This one almost always comes back to bite the player when more evidence or testimony surfaces.

- “I did it so I could get back and help my team” - What a great teammate! Not… Seriously, this is a good attempt at spinning the issue and I’m sure someone paid a PR firm big bucks to invent this excuse, but it just doesn’t fly with me. It’s just a clever way to duck the issue and try to save a little face.

“I’m sorry for what I did” (with no mention of steroids, HGH or other performance-enhancing drugs) - Vague apologies without addressing the issue at all are as bad as not saying anything. How can you apologize for something if you don’t tell us what you’re apologizing for?

I’m sure we’ll all be back to comment tomorrow on what is said.

There are a couple of other interesting blurbs in the notes column too:

- Simmons says Yost doesn’t have to look over his shoulder - I like Yost for the most part and think he doesn’t deserve nearly as much criticism as he receives from fans, but I doubt he’s naive enough to think he doesn’t have to look over his shoulder this year, whether it’s Simmons he’s looking at or any number of other candidates. This is a big year for Yost. He’s got the horses. Now he has to prove he can win the race or at least give it a good show.

- Robin Yount will be coming to spring training to do some coaching - It can’t hurt to have a hall of fame player coming in to give the guys some tips. I wish he was still on the coaching staff…

Also, make sure to check out this Q&A with Doug Melvin.

Insomniac Ink