The Hall of Brewers We Won’t Miss: Round 2 of Nominees
By Lou Olsen
For those of you coming in late, welcome to the ‘Hall of Brewers We Won’t Miss’. This is a 5 week project, in which 5 select individuals will nominate two former Brewers as candidates for “The Hall”. At the end of those 5 weeks, RtB will put up a poll in order to induct 2 players in to the first ever class of the “Hall of Brewers We Won’t Miss”.
If you missed part one, here is the link. However, I know how lazy many of you are (beer and sausage, does not a motivator make), so here is a quick re-cap:
I nominated Jeff Suppan because he sucked and took our money, and Guillermo Mota because he sucked and has been busted for steroids (cough medicine according to the man himself) twice.
This week, I asked RtB Editor (and resident Brewers expert) Colin Bennett to grace us all with two nominees. He did not disappoint, but we are going to have a very pitcher heavy nominee class. Let’s get right into it.
Eric Gagne – For years on end, there was no one in baseball more dominant at his position than Eric Gagne. Over the course of three seasons Gagne recorded a total of 84 consecutive saves. Then something happened – well actually a lot of things happened. The biggest being his mention in the 2007 Mitchell Report on Performance Enhancing Drugs. There was that, and the fact that one year later he joined the Brewers and completely obliterated any hopes of a future career.
Colin’s Overall Grade: D+
Eric Gagne’s 2008 Line went something like this: 4-3 record, a 5.44 ERA, made 50 appearances, 46.1 innings of work, 28 earned runs, 11 home runs, 22 walks, and his middle name is Serge. Not relevant to baseball…but still funny.
Eric Gagne’s 2008 postseason line: 2 games, 2 innings pitched, no runs, and 1 strikeout
While the stats themselves may not be terrible, let us consider that he started the 2008 season as our closer, but then he blew 3 saves in 6 attempts and Yost pulled the plug. It got worse though, as Gagne was later removed from the set-up role after several lackluster outings. He was replaced by Guillermo Mota, a fellow HOBWWM nominee.
If my memory serves me correctly, Gagne had a nickname that should just about sum this part of his qualifications up. We used to call him “The Ten Million Dollar Mistake”. Do you all remember that? I sure do. What were the Brewers thinking? This guy was so washed up at this point, that sea shells were jealous. I doubt that any other nominee will even come close to Gagne in this category, he is the #1 loser in this category without a doubt. $10 million dollars for a mid-5’s ERA…money well spent.
Gagne is very well liked by his teammates and by the media. In fact, the guy has a reputation for being a terrific mentor and teacher to young pitchers throughout his career. When his name was revealed in the Mitchell Report, Gagne immediately held a press conference and said the following:
"I’m not denying it. I’m not saying I did it. I just can’t talk about it. It’s a touchy subject. It doesn’t just involve me. I’ve been straightforward about everything. It [stinks] that I can’t be about this. I’m not looking for sympathy anyway. I have to live with this the rest of my life. I’m going to have to explain this to my kids. It’s going to be on my resume the rest of my life."
Is Gagne a bad guy? Hard to know, that is why we are leaving it up to all of you.
Colin’s Closing Thoughts:
In the course of just a few seasons, Eric Gagne became a man who specialized in snatching losses from the jaws of victory. He had seven blown saves in 2008, and four blown leads which is a stat I think Baseball-Reference came up with just to twist the knife on Gagne. He wasn’t terrible in 2008 and the team was 34-16 with him in the game, but Gagne was directly involved in all 16 of those losses. He had obviously lost his stuff and his signing was in the tail-end of Milwaukee’s mad dash for aging stars, and it was apparent that he just wasn’t going to fit. If anything positive really did come from Gagne’s career as a Brewer, it was the fact that he bought me (and like 10,000 other fans) tickets to a game where Ryan Braun hit a walk-off grand slam. Thanks, buddy.
Dave Bush – Dave Bush is about as forgettable a pitcher as you will find in this day and age. In his career as a starting pitcher, Bush lost 13 more games than he won, had an ERA of 4.70, and is one of only 3 pitchers in the history of baseball to give up back-to-back-to-back-to back home runs. That will be his legacy. Is it any wonder that he found his way onto this list.
Colin’s Overall Grade: D
DB’s pitching Line as a Brewer: 46-53 record, 4.80 ERA, started 144 games, logged 870 innings, allowed 910 hits, 464 earned runs, 129 home runs, 232 walks, and 605 strikeouts.
DB’s playoff Line: This is a little surprising… 1-0 record, in 1 appearance (only series win of the 2008 NLDS), pitched 5.1 innings, gave up 1 run, and struck out 3 batters.
While his regular season numbers are…well, terrible. I always forget that he won the team it’s first playoff game since 1982, so at least he has that to hang his hat on. I feel like that one game will not be enough to save him from being inducted into “The Hall”.
He also flirted with 2 no-hitters as a Brewer: once in 2008 against the Blue Jays (broken up in the 8th inning) and again in 2009 against the Phillies (broken up after 7.1 innings).
Over his 5 years in Milwaukee, Bush was paid a little over $11.5 million. Which compared to the 1yr – $10 million that Gagne got, doesn’t seem to bad. However, when you are paying a pitcher $4 million a season (’09 and ’10), a 13-22 record during that stretch just does not cut it.
Bush was not the victim of the free-agent over-pay, like our 3 previous nominees. The Brewers acquired Bush in a trade with the Blue Jays. In 2006 and 2007 he actually had winning records as a starter for the Crew. Then it slowly started to spiral downward. Bush lost velocity and movement on all of his pitches and therefore is no longer in the major leagues. Is anyone else noticing a theme here?
So far, Bush probably has the most favorable grade in this category (or least favorable, depending on how you look at it). Dave was not a complete waste of money, is what I am really trying to say. He had some moments and contributed…what he could.
Dave is a very like-able guy. Very quiet and soft spoken, did a lot of charity work while he was in Milwaukee. Never had anything bad to say about anyone. I wish I had more for you on that front. Dave Bush has a sterling reputation amongst players and media…so, I got nothin’.
Colin’s Final Thoughts:
Remember Dave Bush? Chances are that was because you bought tickets to a game he was pitching, and he probably lost that game. I only say that because in 144 games started in Milwaukee, Bush lost 56 of them. 56. In his best years, Dave Bush only managed to have a game over a .500 record. I know records don’t account for much, but his is still pretty awful. His lowest loss total with Milwaukee came in 2009, when he went 5-9 in a season shortened by injury, and I assume, a lack of ability to get batters out. Among active pitchers, Bush has the tenth highest Walks per Nine Innings rating which is impressive considering that he isn’t playing Major League ball in 2012. I assume Dave Bush is now somewhere nice and quiet where he can spend his days growing his scraggly uneven beard and practice hitting the broad side of a barn.