The Phillies' search for bullpen depth may take an interesting turn.
Former All-Star closer Eric Gagne told a French Canadian radio station that he has a tryout with the Phillies this afternoon in Arizona.
Gagne, 34, saved 161 games while posting a 1.82 ERA and striking out an average of 13.4 batters per nine innings for the Dodgers from 2002-2006. During that 5-year stretch, he was one of the most dominant closers in baseball, allowing a meager 0.827 walks and hits per inning in 240 appearances.
But after saving 16 games and posting a 2.16 ERA for the Rangers in the first half of 2007, Gagne was traded to Boston and struggled, allowing 14 runs in 18 2/3 innings.
In December 2007, Gagne was one of 86 players identified in the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. He was accused of having purchased human growth hormone in 2004, while with the Dodgers.
Gagne last pitched in the majors in 2008, when he had a 5.44 ERA in 50 appearances for the Brewers. He struggled early that season, but posted a 3.52 ERA and held opposing batters to a .205 average in 26 appearances after the All-Star break. He spent last season as a starter in the Can-Am League, posting a 4.65 ERA in 102 2/3 innings.
"I'm very excited to have this chance,'' Gagne told CKAC Sports yesterday. "There are many players that I know well on that team, including Jayson Werth.''
Werth and Gagne were teammates on the Dodgers.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. did not respond to two attempts for comment.
Amaro previously said the Phillies would continue to look for low-risk, high-reward players to bolster a bullpen that struggled with injuries and inconsistency last season.