Rangers set to unveil closer Gagne
Newest acquisition passed physical on Monday
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers still wait on Barry Zito but are ready to talk about new closer Eric Gagne.The Rangers have called a press conference for 11:30 a.m. CT on Tuesday to officially announce the signing of Gagne to a one-year contract worth $6 million plus another $5 million in incentives. Gagne underwent a complete physical in Arlington on Monday. Gagne pitched in just 16 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers the past two seasons while undergoing elbow and back surgery but had 152 saves as their closer in 2002-2004. He was also the National League Cy Young Award winner in 2003. The Rangers are signing him to be their closer as long as he is healthy. Akinori Otsuka was the Rangers' closer for most of last season and finished with 32 saves. But he'll likely move into an eighth-inning setup role in front of Gagne. The Rangers have also received a number of trade inquiries about Otsuka, but general manager Jon Daniels said he's not inclined to move him unless they get something significant in return. The Rangers may wait until well into Spring Training to see if Gagne is completely healthy before they make a move with their bullpen. Zito is next on the Rangers' agenda, but they are waiting on the New York Mets to make the next move. Zito and agent Scott Boras are expected to meet face-to-face with the Mets on Tuesday. Zito and Boras already have met with the Rangers and received an offer from them. The San Francisco Giants, according to one source, could be the "financial wild card" in the situation. Other teams have drifted in and out of the competition, but those three teams appear to be the most serious contenders for Zito. There has been much media speculation that the Rangers' offer could go as high as $100 million or more. But sources have made it clear that the Rangers aren't going anywhere near $100 million for Zito.
The Rangers also made an offer to free-agent pitcher Mark Mulder earlier this month and his representative, Gregg Clifton, made the club a counteroffer on Monday. The Rangers are one of the teams that Mulder is seriously considering along with the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Indians. They have also had conversations with the Mets and the Giants.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.