Today’s Bill Plaschke column is being ghost-written by Dodgers closer Eric Gagne (above, left). From the LA Times’ Steve Henson.
“You need to add a 40-home-run guy and a guy who hits .310, that’s two hitters,” Gagne said. “You need to re-sign Jeff Weaver, the innings he gives us are priceless.
“The Dodgers make money. The fans show up. You have to give back. As a business, you have to make money. But you have to take risk to make money and in baseball that means paying for players.”
Informed of Gagne’s comments, McCourt said he was disappointed that one of his players chose to go to the media rather than to him with concerns. But he emphasized that he has authorized DePodesta to spend what it takes to put a winning team on the field. DePodesta is in Italy for his sister’s wedding and was unavailable for comment.
“We want to win as much as Eric Gagne does,” McCourt said. “We will spend what it takes to win. I’ve said it over and over and over again, so all our fans hear it loud and clear.”
Gagne, the 2003 Cy Young Award winner who saved 152 games from 2002 to 2004, sounded angry, frustrated and embarrassed. He sat out most of the 2005 season because of an elbow injury, notching only eight saves, but that didn’t spare him from feeling despondent over the season.
“I close games; I can’t save losses,” he said. “I’ll be in a situation in a year where I can choose a team that wants to win. I love the Dodgers and want to be a Dodger. I really like the McCourts and their attitude. I want them to know that they can make a lot of money by winning.
“We have resources for trades. We have a lot of money. This year, we didn’t have the Dodger brand. They bought the brand and we have to put that back in the minds of fans and throughout baseball, that we are the Dodgers.”
McCourt pointed out that the Dodgers spent more on free agents last off-season than any other team besides the New York Mets.
“But I also don’t want to be fooled by the fact that you spend $144 million on free agents and it’s a magic elixir to win,” he said. “It’s more complicated than that. It requires a long- and short-term commitment to win.”