The trading deadline is over... and the biggest news of the day was the acquisition of right handed closer Eric Gagne to the Red Sox, from the Texas Rangers.
Wha? Another closer? Did I hear this correctly? WHY?
OK, Sox Nation. Let's break this whole thing down, so we can take a closer look, and see why this is a GREAT deal that you can all be happy about.
It's Eric Gagne. He's a 3-time All-Star, and was also the 2003 NL Cy Young winner as a closer for the Dodgers. He's come off some injuries in '05 and '06, but has been real good this year, with a 2.16 ERA.
Gagne waived his no trade clause to be here, and the Sox paid him about $2 million of his incentive money from his TX contract to ensure he would come.
We can all breathe a sigh of relief, he's NOT replacing Papelbon. His job will be to close the 8th inning, as the setup guy.
Let's face it. We have had some issues in our bullpen this year. It's been great, but not perfect. Timlin seems chronically fatigued or sore this year, and Brendan Donnelly just hasn't recovered from his injuries. In fact, it looks like Theo and Co. seemed to know more than we did in this area. After securing Gagne, it was announced that Donnelly will now undergo season ending Tommy John surgery, so there is certainly a place for Gagne.
This trade was not made without concessions. We gave Texas our own Kason Gabbard, AAA David Murphy, and A outfielder Beltre.
Kason did an awesome job up here in Boston, filling in for Schill. I wasn't sure if Lester or Gabbard was being showcased in the last 2 weeks, I guess we know now! At this point, we don't really have room for both Lester and Gabbard, so the tough decision had to be made.
David Murphy is a really good young player as well. But, with Coco doing a better job in the batter's box, and Jacoby Ellsbury in the wings in the immediate future, there again we have limited opportunity for Murphy. It's too bad, he was pretty impressive, and he will definitely impact another team.
The bottom line, though, is that Gagne is going to be an excellent addition to an already decent bullpen. How fierce and intimidating will our mound be, when we can get our starters to pitch 6 complete innings, with batters knowing they will be facing:
Okijima, Gagne, and Papelbon?
This still leaves Delcarmen and Kyle Snyder back there for those times where our starters struggle. And once Schill is back, Tavarez has proven he can be real strong at least one time through a team's rotation.
So we didn't get any bats during this trade deadline, but I think we can all agree we have improved so much more in the pen. That old adage that pitching wins championships will certainly be tested in the coming few months.
My only concern is that those guys over in the Bronx were awfully quiet these last few days. Have they finally figured out that being patient, and keeping your prospects for your future is the right way to go? It is certainly a new philosophy, and the right one, in my opinion. Do they think those red hot bats (which are really on fire), are enough to win the wild card, and beyond? Or have they just given up on '07? I guess only time will tell!!