Say you were a GM for an up and coming baseball team. Say you needed a closer. Say, just for kicks, you obviously had a pretty good scouting system in place, not to mention many other front office staff who would advise you on hirings and firings. Say it was late 2007 and you were selecting your new closer based on the various free agents performances in the 2007 season.
Now, maybe you would take a chance on a young player, heck, you would save a few bullets for other signings that way. Maybe you could promote from within. Maybe you could take a starter and turn him into a closer. That works sometimes.
OR YOU COULD PAY TEN MILLION DOLLARS FOR A GUY WHO COULDN'T PITCH HIS WAY OUT OF A PAPER BAG!!
You know, really, I hate to beat a dead horse, but what on earth were the Brewers thinking when they paid TEN MILLION DOLLARS for a single season of the Eric Gagne show?
Why not just make Prince Fielder your closer? At least that would be entertaining, the overall results would probably still be the same too.
Let's look at the body of evidence that the Brewers had at their disposal before signing Gagne
- The guy is growing old, fast
- The guy wouldn't get the job done in Boston
- The guy was named in the Mitchell report as a steroid abuser
- The guy was not offered anything close by anyone else in free agency
How did ONE scout not say, ''You know what, this guy was pretty poor in '07 and he might have some arm troubles and nobody else wants him as anything other than a reclamation project and Boston gave him plenty of chances which he blew and really, there has to be better options'' - or something along those lines?
Now this, Gagne, accountable to the last, which is very commendable, has basically taken himself out of the closer role.
Here's the big question though. The timing of this is very interesting, with the Brewer's due to visit no less than the Boston Red Sox on Friday, in interleague play. What I would love to know is, did Gagne himself decide 'I don't want no part of Fenway park' or did the Brewers decide to take him out of the firing line, hence avoiding the inevitable outpour of ironic disdain that would probably come from the Fenway bleachers.
Gagne strikes me as a strong man, certainly strong willed, however can you imagine for a second how tough the Fenway crowd would be in a one run game on Friday night, with Big Papi or Manny at bat?
I don't even know if that would be enjoyable, even as a Red Sox fan. It would be almost unfair.
Either way, thanks to the Brewers making this decision, we're not going to see the sacrificial slaughter, not this weekend anyway.
How about in the World Series?