It’s not much Rangers news but its about all there is. The Rangers have hired Eric Gagne as their bullpen coach in Triple-A Nashville.
Gagne was a former dominating closer for the Dodgers. So dominating, in fact, he won he Cy Young in 2003 as as a reliever. He finished fourth in Cy Young voting the year prior and seventh a year after. It was an incredible run in which he set the major league record with eighty-four consecutive saves.
Then he injured his arm, had elbow surgery, then back surgery, making him a prime candidate for the Rangers.
In 2007, he signed with Texas, fought through injuries but regained a lot of his dominance, picking up sixteen saves in thirty-four games, with an ERA of 2.16 and an opposing batting average of .192, before being dealt to Boston at the deadline for David Murphy. Gagne seemed to run out of steam.
At the end of the 2007 season, Gagne was named in the Mitchell Report as a steroid user. He later admitted it, and said he took HGH to heal after knee surgery.
Gagne had a devastating changeup that was described this way by sportswriter Dan Habib:
“The fastball is straight gas but the changeup is a devious thing, a bowling ball rolled off a picnic table. It travels some ten mph slower than his fast-ball, anywhere from 83 to 88 mph, and like a splitter it breaks late and sharp.”
It had almost comic book movement, like the changeup in those Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Gagne made a comeback, pitching for Canada in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, then attempted a comeback with the Dodgers, unsuccessfully.
Welcome to the organization, Eric Gagne. Please, please teach someone that changeup.