Since there are rumors out there that the Yankees are interested in picking up Eric Gagne, I thought it was time to offer some opinion on him.
Eric Gagne is now 31-years old. From 1999 to 2001, Gagne was a failed starting pitching prospect for the Dodgers. In 2002, he was moved to the bullpen and he became a star. From 2002 to 2004, he was unhittable. Due do the increased speed on his fastball, and some change to his appearance, rumors of Gagne using PEDs began to surface. In 2005, Gagne blows out his elbow after 14 games and needs Tommy John Surgery. When he tires to come back in 2006, he hurts his back and ends up pitching just 2 games last year.
This season, Gagne got off to a slow start due to a hip injury. Since then, he’s been good. From June 1st, through yesterday, he’s pitched in 22 games and batters have gone .212/.272/.294 (BA/OBA/SLG) against him. But, his K-Rate this season is way down from his 2002-2004 levels. In fact, his K-Rate this season is closer to where it was when he was a failed starting pitcher propsect.
Given his age, injury history, and the whispers about his past potential PED use, in some ways, Gagne is the Jason Giambi of relief pitchers. And, Yankees fans have learned that you cannot count on Jason Giambi. Therefore, they should be concerned about having to count on Eric Gagne – and also be concerned about how much the Yankees would give up to get him, if that turns out to be the case.