MLB Trade Deadline: Worst Red Sox deals in history
David Murphy for Eric Gagne – 2007
On their path to another championship, the Red Sox looked to upgrade their bullpen at the 2007 deadline by adding former Cy Young winner Eric Gagne.
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The three-time All-Star was once one of the most dominant relievers in the game. During his peak from 2002-2004 he ripped off a record streak of 84 consecutive saves, including a league-leading 55 in 2003 that fell two shy of the single-season record for consecutive saves. Sounds like the type of security any team would wish for at the back end of their bullpen, right?
Except that the Red Sox already had an All-Star closer by the name of Jonathan Papelbon, who made it clear to the front office that he would not be pleased with conceding the role to Gagne. In a related story, this would not be the last time Papelbon would be viewed as not being a “team player.”
Gagne agreed to move into a setup role in Boston, but never looked comfortable in it. He produced an unsightly 6.75 ERA over 18 2/3 innings to close out the regular season and memorably blew Game 2 of the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians.
The Red Sox went on to win a title in spite of Gagne’s presence in the bullpen, but that doesn’t save the Gagne trade from being a terrible decision.
The spare parts that Boston gave up in the deal, Engel Beltre and Kason Gabbard, never amounted to much but Murphy had a decent career after breaking in with the Texas Rangers. He may not have reached the ceiling of the top prospect status he had in the Red Sox organization, but he enjoyed a solid 10 year career in which he produced a .274/.333/.432 line. That’s a lot more value than Boston got out of Gagne.
The Red Sox were clearly enamored with Gagne’s save record, but someone should have saved them from making this disastrous deal.