We've all seen it before while watching Baseball Tonight (dear lord Kruk, how much bigger can you get?) Neat organ sound and boom out to Chavez Ravine we go and enter Eric Gagne, Guns and Roses' Welcome to the Jungle begins blaring[editor's note, by R.J. Anderson] (late night, sorry), and `Game Over' begins flashing on the scoreboards behind the now trotting Gagne.
The thought is now this: could we see one of the top closers in baseball join the Rays?
According to the Boston Herald, the Rays are amongst 5-6 teams competing for the once dominant closer's services. It's speculated that Gagne only wants a one year deal, with around five million guaranteed, however it's also believed an incentive enhanced deal may net Gagne for multiple seasons.
The Rays have also been linked to Octavio Dotel (now a Royal), Keith Foulke, Russ Springer, and David Riske. Out of those five, Gagne is easily the most accomplished and dominant. The big question is will the Rays take that risk that Gagne is healthy? Should they?
If the Rays were to hook Gagne it would solidify a position that was less stable than the San Andreas plate. Since the end of 2005 the Rays' closer position has been `held' by : Danys Baez, Lancer Carter, Shinji Mori, Chad Orvella, Tyler Walker, Dan Miceli, Brian Meadows, and finally Seth McClung; Gagne brings more career saves than nearly all of them...combined.
Another item that Gagne brings: veteran presence. He would be the undeniable leader of the bullpen, and would perform like it. He also brings the intimidation factor to the pen, not to mention teaching youngsters like McClung and Salas a thing or two about power pitching.
So the final question to ask is this : would Gagne consider St. Petersburg for a year or more? I'm not Eric so I can't speak directly for him, but if it's a rejuvenation year that he's looking for, he could do a hell of a lot worse than the beautiful Tampa, Florida and racking up 40 plus saves for a team many consider `bad', and as we saw with Danys Baez, it could lead to the payday he desires.