The Milwaukee Brewers released veteran reliever Eric Gagne today. Gagne's injured shoulder is going to need rehabilitation and he has decided to pursue that rehab at a private facility.
While he was a long shot to make the roster, I was rooting for Gagne to make it back to Milwaukee.
Not only was Gagne another veteran presence in the bullpen, but his charity work was unmatched by any player on last year's team.
A team can't pay for the kind of community leadership that a guy like Gagne brought to the clubhouse. He led the team last season in charitable giving, including a single $50,000 donation to the MACC Fund, the largest single donation they've ever received.
That team-leading donation total did not include the large-scale ticket purchase he made for the Thursday night game during the final week of the season. This game will be remembered for Ryan Braun's walk-off grand slam and it was a sell-out thanks to Gagne.
With a team full of young, stud players who are likely to have long careers, its important to have veterans showing them how to be good community citizens.
It was clear after the season that Gagne was embarrassed by his performance and was looking to make amends this season. It’s a shame that he won’t get that chance. It seems unlikely that after injuries last season and this Spring Training, as well as his poor performance in 2008, that he’ll be able to make another comeback.
And that’s a loss for whatever community he would be pitching in.