The word out of Québec is that the one-time Cy Young Award winner who was mentioned in the Mitchell Report is trying a comeback in the Can-Am League with the Québec Capitales.
" 'It's too early to gauge the impact of his arrival on turnout at the stadium, but let's just say it’s a big score for the team (and) for the league as well,' said team owner Miles Wolff."It's understandable if people wish ill to the cheater. Until such time that people demand the L.A. Dodgers give refunds for all the people who bought Éric Gagné merchandise between 2002-04, he should be welcomed back as he tries to make it back into baseball, however long those odds might be.
The story says Gagné, who along with Jeff Montgomery is one of the only four-pitch closers in baseball history, will be attempting to re-launch his career as a starter.
It was such a feel-good story back in 2003. He had such a cult-like following in Los Angeles that when he was warming up in the bullpen in the eighth inning to come in for a save, fans at Dodger Stadium would pay more attention to him than the actual game. (Granted, since the Dodgers finished dead last in several offensive categories, the fans were justified.)
Who knows, maybe he can develop a knuckleball and replace Tim Wakefield when he finally retires in 2015 (that was a snarky comment). Red Sox fans have made much sport of Gagné since his ill-starred turn as a rental player during their drive to the 2007 World Series title, when he had no saves and a 6.75 ERA in 20 appearances, while allowing almost two baserunners per inning.
This is as good as a time as any to wonder if there was a hex placed on the vote-getters for the NL Cy Young Award in '03. Only three other pitchers got votes that season, Jason Schmidt (then with the Giants), the Cubs' Mark Prior and the Braves' Russ Ortiz. All three of them have, not unlike Gagné, have develope arm problems that have caused their careers to go off a cliff. Ortiz is the only one still in the majors, and he's been shaky (although he did hit a home run this season before David Ortiz).
The Capitales' first Boston-area road swing is June 16-21 at Brockton and Worcester. Perhaps Gagné will be stretching his arm out in games by that point.
Gagné signs with Can-Am team (Stephane Cadorette, Québec Media Agency)