MADISON, Wis. -- The Milwaukee Brewers reached a preliminary
agreement on a $10 million, one-year contract with free-agent
reliever Eric Gagne, giving the team another option at closer after
losing Francisco Cordero to free agency.
Gagne's deal, which is subject to him passing a physical, will
allow him to earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses,
a person familiar with the negotiations said, speaking on condition
of anonymity because the contract has not been finalized.
Gagne's agreement was first reported by the Milwaukee
Journal-Sentinel on its Web site.
"We're not there yet," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin
said Saturday night at the Marquette-Wisconsin basketball game.
Melvin said the Brewers' interest in Gagne didn't indicate a
lack of confidence in reliever Derrick Turnbow, considered the most
logical candidate to take over as the Brewers' closer after Cordero
finalized a $46 million, four-year deal with Cincinnati.
"We're just adding depth," Melvin said.
The Brewers were interested in trading for Gagne before last
season's trading deadline, but lost out to the Boston Red Sox.
Gagne struggled in Boston, going 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA in 20 games
after being traded from Texas, but Melvin said he still considered
the right-hander a potential closer.
"He's got a history of closing, and he's a guy that can help
our bullpen on the back end," Melvin said.
Gagne had 152 saves with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2002 to
2004, the most in a three-year period in major league history, and
won the NL Cy Young Award in 2003. The Canadian's streak of
converting 84 consecutive save opportunities in those years is far
and away the longest in major league baseball.