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More on the Gagne deal

Posted by Gordon Edes, Globe Staff  July 31, 2007 05:29 PM

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The Red Sox aren't expecting that Eric Gagne, who wants to close, will stay beyond this year, but he'll still have value going forward that should help ease what they've given up in Kason Gabbard, David Murphy and rookie-level outfielder Engel Beltre.

Gagne projects as a Type A free agent, which means the Sox will get draft picks as compensation if Gagne signs elsewhere. They will get a first rounder and a sandwich pick if the signing club picks in the second half of the draft order, or a sandwich pick and a second rounder if it picks on the first half (which is determined by reverse order of finish in the standings.

Gabbard pitched extremely well while Curt Schilling was on the disabled list, but his value will probably never be higher, and the Sox had six starters for five roles when Schill returns. Murphy had nowhere to go, especially with the emergence of Jacoby Ellsbury, and while the Sox liked Engel Beltre, an 18 year old outfielder from the Dominican Republic who they signed for $700,000, they're confident they can find suitable value for one of the compensatory draft picks.

The Sox are expecting Eric Gagne to be here in time for tomorrow's game against the Orioles. Theo Epstein mentioned in the press conference that ended just a short time ago that Gagne touched 94 miles an hour in a recent outing; he's been mostly at 92 this season.

The increase in velocity makes his changeup even more devastating.

As part of the deal, the Rangers are paying the performance bonuses that Gagne already has achieved. They also are contributing some cash to the payout the Sox must make for performance bonuses for games finished. Since Gagne will be setting up for the Sox, he will not be finishing games, so the Sox struck an agreement in which Gagne will be paid for games finished at the same rate he was finishing games for the Rangers.

The Sox were told by the Rangers that Gagne was not interested in going to a team in which he would be setting up not closing, but elected to make the deal anyway, trusting that they could persuade Gagne that this would be a good situation for him here.

Gagne will get save opportunities on days that the Sox don't want to use Papelbon in back to back situations, but otherwise will set up. Theo noted that Okajima is rapidly approaching his career high in innings pitched, so obviously Gagne will act as a hedge against Okajima being overused.

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