He invoked his no trade clause today.
Then did an about face.
Billy Wagner will pitch for the Red Sox this season, after all.
Wagner agreed to waive his no-trade clause in the final minutes before Tuesday's deadline and the fireballing left-handed reliever was traded from the Mets to Boston for two players to be named later.
The Red Sox agreed to not pick up Wagner's option for 2010, but they have retained the right to offer arbitration, which means that they still could get two draft picks for him if he departs as a free agent, a source told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
It's a stunning about-face after it appeared Wagner wouldn't agree to a trade to Boston because of contractual issues and his availability to pitch as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
Wagner was set to decline the trade to Boston until an hour before the deadline, his agent, Bean Stringfellow, told 1050 ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand. At that time, Wagner called Stringfellow, and told him, "I'm going to throw caution to the wind and I'm going to go to Boston."
The two spoke about it for a few minutes and then Wagner's mind was made up, according to Stringfellow. Wagner was hesitant to go because he didn't want Boston to pick up his $8 million option for next year because he would like to close. He didn't want them to offer him arbitration because then when he became a free agent teams would have to give Boston first and second round picks as compensation. And, thirdly, he didn't want to go because he is in the 11th month of a 14th month rehab and he is only supposed to pitch once every third day.
In the end, he decided that at 38 he would take his chances and head to Boston.
After the Mets' 6-2 loss to Philadelphia on Monday, Wagner said he was set to travel with the team to Florida. New York begins a three-game series against the Marlins on Tuesday night.
"Right now I'm going to Florida. Unless something changes in Boston, I'm going to be a Met," he said.
The 38-year-old Wagner is sixth on the career list with 385 saves. He said he would like to reach 400 and then pass John Franco (424) for the most by a left-handed pitcher.
"I'd like to get at that level," Wagner said. "There's not many people in that 400 club."
Wagner wants to be a closer next season, regardless of which team he's on.
"I don't want to end my career as a set-up man," Wagner said. "I'd like to have that option."
Wagner was expected to miss the entire season following elbow ligament replacement surgery in September. He made a quick recovery and returned to the Mets on Thursday night, when he struck out two in a perfect inning against Atlanta and reached 96 mph with his fastball.
He pitched another scoreless inning against the Phillies on Monday. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4421684