LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers declined a $12 million option on reliever Eric Gagne for 2007 on Friday and instead paid a $1 million buyout, an expected move that grants the injured Gagne free agency but does not preclude his return to the club.
Gagne is currently recovering from elbow and back operations that limited him to two innings in 2006, when he earned $10 million in the final year of a two-year, $19 million contract he signed before the 2005 season.
The 30-year-old closer, whose 2005 season was cut short by surgery that relocated a nerve near his elbow, was still bothered in 2006 by the nerve that eventually was removed in an April operation. He returned to make two appearances, but quickly returned to the disabled list with continued discomfort. While recovering from the elbow, Gagne ruptured a disk in his back and underwent surgery to repair that July 8.
The Canada native is currently rehabbing near his Arizona home. He recently resumed tossing, but it might not be known until early 2007 whether Gagne will be ready for Spring Training or Opening Day.
Maybe the Mariners should see if he'd sign a 1 year, $2.5 million contract to rebuild some of his worth. With Lowe hurt, he'd be great insurance, and if he goes down, hey, we still have Raffy. As a cheap set-up man, he'd be great. I expect him to get at least $6 million somewhere, but you never know...maybe we'll get lucky.