Mets’ Wagner wants option declined to OK trade
Mets’ Wagner wants option declined to OK trade
By MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer
8 hours, 30 minutes ago
NEW YORK (AP)—Billy Wagner wants to be a closer next season, regardless of which team he’s on.
That’s why the New York Mets reliever says Boston must guarantee it will decline his contract option for 2010 before he would approve a potential trade this week to the Red Sox, who already have an All-Star closer in Jonathan Papelbon(notes).
“I don’t want to end my career as a setup man,” Wagner said. “I’d like to have that option.”
Wagner has a no-trade clause in his contract, which includes an $8 million option for next year with a $1 million buyout. If his option is declined, he can become a free agent in the offseason and sign with any team.
Wagner confirmed Monday that Boston placed a waiver claim on him last Friday. The fourth-place Mets have until Tuesday to trade him to the Red Sox, pull him back off waivers or assign him to Boston for nothing in return.
If the Mets pull Wagner back, they can’t trade him for the rest of the season. If they let him go to Boston, the Red Sox would be responsible for the nearly $3.5 million owed to Wagner under his current contract.
FOXSports.com reported late Sunday that Wagner’s agent, Bean Stringfellow, had another condition for Wagner accepting a trade to Boston: He wants the Red Sox to guarantee they won’t offer Wagner salary arbitration this offseason, thus making him more attractive to potential suitors on the open market, because those teams wouldn’t have to give up high draft picks as compensation for signing him.
According to the FOXSports.com report, Stringfellow said Boston rejected both demands.
“Bean can’t talk to Boston, so he doesn’t know any more than I really know. So right now we’re just kind of in limbo,” Wagner said.
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. “They want me to set up. I’m too old to set up. I’d like to end my career as a closer.”
The 38-year-old Wagner is sixth on the career list with 385 saves. He said he’d 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 was expected to miss the entire season following elbow ligament replacement surgery last 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.
His second appearance also was a success. Wagner fanned two more batters in a hitless eighth inning Monday against the first-place Phillies.
“The results, once again, were good. But I wasn’t very consistent. I didn’t think I pitched that well,” he said. “I don’t really have to showcase myself. I think everybody knows what I can do. All they want to know is, can I do it?”
Wagner is interested in completing the season with a playoff contender, but he’s also looking farther down the road. He said he hasn’t committed to pitching beyond next season.
“We haven’t made any real plans. It’s not going to be much longer,” he said. “I kind of enjoy being around my family and my kids and coaching them, so it’s not going to be very much longer. I mean, they’ve sacrificed enough.”
Even if he’s not traded, Wagner doesn’t expect to remain with the Mets next year. New York signed All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez(notes) to a $37 million, three-year contract last offseason.
“They’re not going to pay $8 million to have me set up Frankie and they know that I wouldn’t be satisfied,” Wagner said. “They’ve expressed to me that they want what’s best for me and they would like to help me out. They have a closer. They’d like to help me reach that goal. We just have to see if that comes to pass.
“I’ve enjoyed New York tremendously. I’ve had a blast playing here. It’s just, I think my role is as a closer,” he added. “Me getting hurt last year and them picking up Frankie, that just puts me in an odd situation and it’s one of those that it’s best to maybe move on.”
Mets' Wagner wants option declined to OK trade - MLB - Yahoo! Sports
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.
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