Could Gagne follow the footsteps of Roy Halladay, Pedro Martinez and Cliff Lee as former Cy Youngs to join to Phightins in the past year?
It could happen. Gagne, who hasn’t pitched in a full Major-League season since 2008, has a tryout for the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon in Arizona, said Philly.com Sports’ David Murphy.
The 34-year-old French Canadian spent last season out of the majors. He pitched as a starter with the Quebec Capitals of the Canadian-American Independent League, going 6-6 with a 4.65 ERA in 17 starts.
Gagne’s best days were as a closer with the Dodgers from 2002 to 2004. He knocked off a MLB record for most consecutive saves with 84. And he took home the NL Cy Young Award in 2003 after going an amazing 55-for-55 in save opportunities while posting a 1.20 ERA and striking out 137 batters in just 82.1 innings.
Gagne, who looked more like a hockey player than a baseball pitcher, comes with his share of baggage.
He was scrutinized for being linked to human growth hormones in the Mitchell Report in 2007 and he underwent Tommy John elbow ligament replacement that cost him most of the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
The big righty hopes he can perform as a reliable pitcher for the reigning National League Champions and appreciated being given the shot.
“I am excited to get this opportunity,” he told CorusSports.com.
Right now this just seems like the Phillies wanted a look at another formerly great pitcher -- similar to what they did last season with Pedro Martinez.
The Phils could use another possible stop gap in the pen since they could be forced to enter the season without without closer Brad Lidge (both elbow and knee surgery) and fiery left-hander J.C. Romero (elbow surgery). And the bullpen already has lost reliable vets like Chan Ho Park, Clay Condrey and Scott Eyre.
He also could come at low-risk, high reward just like Pedro did.
Gagne told reporters in the past that he would accept a non-guaranteed minor-league deal, said Philly.com.