Gagne reaches agreement with Rangers

December 12th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Gagne reaches agreement with Rangers


Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas - Reliever Eric Gagne and the Texas Rangers reached a preliminary agreement Tuesday on a one-year contract worth about $6 million.
The agreement was confirmed by a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. The deal would allow Gagne to earn about $5 million more in performance bonuses.
Gagne, the 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner, must pass a physical before the contract can be finalized.
Injuries limited Gagne to 14 games and eight saves in 2005 and two outings with one save this year. The right-hander had surgery in April to remove a nerve from his pitching elbow - the same arm that required elbow-ligament replacement surgery in 1997. He then had season-ending surgery July 8 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back.
Texas also is negotiating with starter Barry Zito, who like Gagne is represented by Scott Boras. Zito met with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and owner Tom Hicks in Texas last week.
Boras has completed several big contracts with Texas in the past, including the $252 million, 10-year deal for Alex Rodriguez in December 2000 and a $65 million, five-year contract for Chan Ho Park the following year. Kevin Millwood, the Rangers' key free-agent pickup last winter, is another Boras client, getting a deal for $60 million over five seasons.
Mark Mulder, Zito's former teammate in Oakland, visited Rangers officials in Texas with his agent Tuesday.
Gagne became the closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002, and saved 52 games with a 1.97 ERA in 77 appearances. The following season, when he won the Cy Young Award, he pitched in the same number of games and innings (82 1-3) and converted all 55 save chances with a 1.20 ERA and 137 strikeouts. He saved 45 more games in 2004.
Gagne was primarily a starter during his first three seasons in Los Angeles, going 11-14 in 48 games (38 starts) from 1999-2001. He became a free agent last month when the Dodgers declined his $12 million option for 2007.
Akinori Otsuka took over as the Rangers closer last season after Francisco Cordero set a major league record with five blown saves in April. Otsuka converted 32 of 36 saves with a 2.11 ERA in 63 games.
Cordero set the Rangers record with 49 saves in 2004, the same year he was an All-Star. Texas traded him to Milwaukee in July as part of the six-player deal for Carlos Lee, who has since agreed to a $100 million, six-year contract with Houston.
If Gagne takes over as the Rangers closer, Otsuka could move back into the eighth-inning setup role the Rangers planned for the right-hander when they got him in a trade from San Diego last offseason. Or Texas could move Gagne into that setup role.
On Monday, Texas reached a preliminary agreement with outfielder Kenny Lofton on a one-year contract worth about $6 million.
Texas has announced final agreements with two major league free agents this offseason: a $13.5 million, three-year contract with outfielder Frank Catalanotto and a $33.75 million, three-year deal to bring back right-hander Vicente Padilla.

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