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Arbitration result: Gagne gets $5M
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02/19/2004  7:15 PM ET
Arbitration result: Gagne gets $5M
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Eric Gagne received the largest arbitration award in Dodgers history despite the panel siding with the team. (Jon SooHoo/Dodgers)
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Perfect in save conversions last year, Eric Gagne could not convert a Cy Young season into a win at the arbitration table.

The Dodgers on Thursday won the arbitration case against their record-breaking closer, who will receive a $5 million salary in 2004 instead of the $8 million he sought.

Financially, the biggest Dodger save of the season will belong to assistant general manager Kim Ng, who quarterbacked the Dodger case.

She saved her company $3 million and was asked if she was happy.

"I'm happy the process is over," she said. "This is not a fun process, it's a very tough process but it's there if we need it. Trust me, it's hard."

The only player to ask for more money than Gagne and lose an arbitration case was reliever Mariano Rivera in 2000 against the Yankees. In charge of the Yankee case that year was their assistant general manager, Kim Ng. Rivera also beat the Yankees at arbitration the previous year.

    Eric Gagne   /   P
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 195
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
Player page
Stats
Splits
Dodgers site

Ng said "a lot of the (Gagne) case had to do with class structure," meaning the Dodgers were already prepared to make Gagne the highest-paid reliever of his class. So, the question left for arbitrators Steven Goldberg, Elliot Shriftman and Dan Brent was whether Gagne's special accomplishments were worthy of comparison to pitchers out of his service class.

But Ng said she left the hearing without a feeling which way it would go.

"I didn't know," she said. "The guy is a Cy Young Award winner. He's done some incredible things over the last couple years."

Gagne still becomes the highest-paid, third-year reliever in baseball history with the largest arbitration award in Dodger history. Gagne is only the second pitcher coming off a Cy Young Award-winning season to lose in arbitration. Jack McDowell in 1994 was the other.

New general manager Paul DePodesta said that he factored the midpoint ($6.5 million) as Gagne's salary in his overall payroll projection and the additional $1.5 million would not dramatically impact his ability to make an acquisition. The Dodger payroll now is around $97 million.

He was non-committal whether he would offer Gagne a multi-year contract and indicated he was not concerned that any disappointment Gagne might feel about the outcome would carry over onto the field.

The Dodgers are 13-6 overall in arbitration cases since 1974.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This article was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.







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