Tuesday, July 31, 2007

His Name is Win

So. The Red Sox have acquired Eric Gagne, the most appropriately named guy in sports history.*

You have to like this deal if you're a Sox fan. Our bullpen just went from extremely good to embarrassingly good, and we didn't give up all that much to do it.

But before Theo and co. go patting themselves on the back too hard, let's remember the following things:

1. They could have signed Gagne in the offseason. Instead, they signed Joel Pineiro - a failed starter with an ERA over 6 - for $8 million. In case you missed it, we shipped Pineiro to St. Louis this morning for a bucket of balls and a pitching machine. And we had to throw cash into the deal.

2. His name may still mean win, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking this is 2004 Gagne. Take a gander at his stats. His strikeouts per nine, strikeouts to walks and WHIP this year have been highly mortal compared to his prime. Opponent's average has held steady, but opponent's OBP is at its highest since '01. Granted, his prime was ungodly. But let's just hope no one has any illusions of him taking over for Papelbon. I'm even uncomfortable with talk of him taking the main setup/sometime closer role from Okajima.

Man, that sounded pretty negative. Let's get back to the fun part: You do this deal in a heartbeat. This is the kind of deal you really appreciate in October, when you're looking anxiously towards the bullpen for arms. Right now? That's going to be a stress free glance. We have three freaking guys who deserve to be closers in that pen.

The price for all this was Gabbard (at the absolute peak of his value) and two prospects, David Murphy and Engel Beltre. Murphy was ranked 16th by Sox Prospects. Beltre didn't make the top twenty. You're not going to get this deal done any cheaper. Losing Gabbard isn't such a big deal with Lester looking good, Schilling coming back, and Tavarez still in the organization. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking we ripped Texas off - this was fair value and made sense for both sides. But we didn't pay a dime over fair value, something you can't often say when you get the best player in a deal.

Which is what we surely did get. We got the man named win. How awesome is that?

*Because sadly, Enos Slaughter never killed anybody.

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