Eric Gagne signed yesterday with the Texas Rangers for 1 year and 6 million dollars. He has the potential to make another 5 million dollars in incentives.
If you read my blog a couple of nights ago, you heard me talk about the bonuses of signing former relief stud Eric Gagne. You also caught my thoughts that the Tribe was being used by Gagne in the same way that many other teams has used the Indians to garner a slightly larger contract from someone else. I don't know if this is what happened, or if Gagne just didn't want to play in the Cleveland market. I don't know the details, and really don't care. I just know that Gagne is gonzo.
I won't lie to you, I wanted him on this club. I really don't think that he's going to be the pitcher he was 3 years ago. With that being said, I will miss the POTENTIAL of having a healthy Gagne closing games for Cleveland. The Gagne of three years ago makes THIS team and THIS group of closers both one of the toughest in the league. With him, there would still be questions. Obviously, without him, there are more question.
With all of that said, Cleveland's bullpen IS improved. Sure, there are tons of questions, but what bullpen DOESN'T HAVE QUESTIONS? Which bullpen goes through a year without turnover, or a year without ups and downs.
Now, the minute that the Gagne signing went through the pipe, I immediately started seeing the Foulke rumors crop back up. Personally, this would be another good signing for Cleveland. But, the bottom line with Foulke is that he DOESN'T seem to want to play in Cleveland. His heart lies in Arizona, for many of the same reasons that Matt Williams was dealt a few years ago. Of course, if you can convice Foulke to sign with Cleveland for a year as their closer, you sign him. If, however, he comes to Cleveland with anything less than 100% commitment, you let him go.
Aside from Foulke, there really isn't another guy out there free agent wise that you look at. There are options, but not good ones.
Of course, there are still trade options. The real question here? Does Cleveland NEED those options, or is the pen ready to go, as is. Either way? You have a lot more to work with than you did last year.
Here's hoping that it pays off.