Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Eric Gagne An Intriguing Fit

Mar 11, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Canada pitcher Eric Gagne (38) throws a pitch in the eighth inning against Colombia during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park. Colombia won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Canada pitcher Eric Gagne (38) throws a pitch in the eighth inning against Colombia during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park. Colombia won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports /
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With Eric Gagne’s impressive performance in the WBC, should the Blue Jays look into signing the former Cy Young award winner as high-upside bullpen depth?

The last time Eric Gagne threw a pitch at the MLB level was in 2008 while pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers. In 50 games that year, Gagne had a 5.44 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP, signaling the end for the once dominant closer. However, nine years later at the age of 41, the Canadian right-handed pitcher is attempting a comeback and has impressed scouts with his arsenal and results in the World Baseball Classic.

An Impressive Resume

Eric Gagne is one of nine relief pitchers to win baseball’s most prestigious award for pitchers, winning the Cy Young award while playing for the LA Dodgers in 2003. The Canadian relief pitcher is a three-time All-Star, a three-time Cy Young nominee (including his win in 2003), and a three-time MVP nominee. During 2002-2007, his prime years, Eric Gagne had a 2.15 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, while amassing 177 saves.

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Present Outlook

Starting with brief stints in the Can-AM baseball league to representing Canada in the 2017 WBC, Eric Gagne has impressed the baseball world with his refined pitching arsenal that appears to baffle opposing hitters once again. His current three-pitch mix consists of a low 90s fastball, an above-average changeup, and a decent curveball. Against the Blue Jays in Spring Training, Gagne pitched a scoreless inning and further turned heads with 2.1 shutout innings in the WBC.

Willing To Do Anything

Although it’s easy to root for a comeback story, in reality, Gagne will have to go through many more steps in order to have a chance at pitching in the MLB once again. Fortunately, in an interview with Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Gagne himself has said that he is willing to do whatever it takes to complete his comeback:

"“I know the game, I know how it happens, I know they need spots on the 40-man roster and don’t want to release a young guy for a 41 year old, so of course I’d be willing to do anything.”"

Next: Blue Jays: Grilli’s experience as important as his performance

Low Risk, High Reward Lottery Ticket

While the Blue Jays have a bevy of right-handed relief options in the form of Osuna, Grilli, Biagini, and Smith, there is absolutely no harm in signing Eric Gagne to a minor league contract. This will allow the front office to further evaluate Gagne’s talents in triple A, and decide if he could be a right-handed weapon out of the bullpen at the major league level. At the very least, Gagne will prove to be valuable depth and an experienced source of knowledge and information for the young prospects in Buffalo. Oh, and did I mention he was Canadian?

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