Gagne a leading Cy Young candidate

For the first time in a long time, a Cy Young Award might be handed to a reliever.

Updated: September 5, 2003, 7:52 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Commenting on the National League Cy Young Award in the July 26 edition of Baker's Dozen, I wrote, "For the first time in a long time, a Cy Young Award might be handed to a reliever. What is more surprising, the reliever might actually deserve it."

I have never been a big fan of giving closers consideration beyond their due -- their due being the Rolaids award. To my mind, closers simply don't play enough to warrant consideration ahead of those who are out on the field on a regular basis. An MVP Award? No doggone way! A Cy Young Award? Maybe -- but only in cases where a clear-cut starting candidate has not come to the fore.

2003 might prove to be just such an exceptional season. No starter has stepped forward to present the credentials necessary to cop the hardware and there are relievers having lights out years waiting to step into the breach. A month ago, it appeared as though John Smoltz was the best of those relievers, but it now looks like Eric Gagne is the better candidate.
Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at