Eric Gagne was destined to be included in this list despite only signing a one-year deal worth $10 million. The only question was what number he would be. Had this deal been for more than the one year with the Milwaukee Brewers, he definitely would have ranked higher.
The Milwaukee Brewers always seem to be a day late and a dollar short when signing free agents. When The Crew signs a big name player, usually that name has faded far from anybody’s mind.
Enter former Cy Young award-winning, admitted PED abusing, closer Eric Gagne. For a three-year stretch with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was damn near unhittable. He pitched 247 innings with 365 strikeouts and only 58 walks while compiling 152 saves between 2002-2004. PED aided or not, those are some really good numbers.
Gagne pitched in only 16 games, due to injury, over the next two seasons before signing with the Texas Rangers in 2007. In 33 1/3 innings for Texas he had 16 saves with a 2.16 ERA. Texas traded him to the Boston Red Sox at the ’07 trade deadline.
After pitching 18 2/3 innings with an ERA at 6.75 with zero saves for the Red Sox, then Milwaukee Brewers GM Doug Melvin signed Gagne for $10 million in December 2007. Overpaying is about the only way a small market franchise like the Brewers can acquire a former Cy Young winner. However, injuries and age had taken its toll on Gagne by this point, and he was terrible in Milwaukee.
He pitched in 50 games for the Brewers in 2008. He finished 16, with only 10 saves and a 5.44 ERA. Once known for his ability to limit walks, he walked an astounding 22 batters while only recording 38 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings pitched.
The Milwaukee Brewers made the playoffs in 2008 and Gagne played no role in helping them get there. Brewers fans remember Gagne for his glasses constantly fogging up more than anything. You would think a $10 million man could afford a good pair of specs. You would also think a former Cy Young could still get big outs. Neither one of those was the case, and thankfully he was only around for one year with The Crew.