Eying Billy Wagner


Last night, as the 8th inning rolled around at Citi Field, the oh-so-familiar guitar strains of “Enter Sandman” echoed across the stadium. The crowd around me roared, and for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, Billy Wagner jogged out to the mound in a Mets uniform.

In this one inning of work, Wagner dazzled. He hit 96 on the Mets’ gun and 95.4 according to Pitch F/X. He threw his change-up with a velocity separation of around 8-9 miles per hour, and his slider had bite. He also threw all three pitches for strikes and struck out two Braves while facing the heart of the Atlanta lineup.

For the Mets, Wanger puts them in a tough spot. The team still owes him around $2.5 million this year and holds a $10 million club option with a $1 million buyout. Because they have Francisco Rodriguez locked up for the next few years, the team will not pick up that option. Because they are a little tight on cash, the team would love to unload Wagner, and the market for hard-throwing lefty relievers is always robust.

Early rumors indicate that the Rays and Marlins are interested in Wagner. Jayson Stark notes, however, that the price tag — in essence, $2.5 million for one month — is far too high for those two teams on the fringes of playoff contention. If the Mets’ goal is to off-load salary by trading Wagner, the team won’t be inclined to ship money down to Florida.

Meanwhile, according to reports, Wagner has been placed on waivers that are set to expire today at 1 p.m. If the right team claims him, Wagner is willing to waive his no-trade clause. “You want to win a World Series, that’s for sure,” Wagner said. “If I’m fortunate enough to be asked to come and join a team that has a great chance to win the World Series, that is something that definitely I’d think about.”

So which team, searching for a lefty reliever and with cash to spend, may be World Series-bound this year? Well, one would have to look only about 11 miles away from Citi Field to find a trading partner for the Mets. Brian Cashman, pick up the phone.

This is, of course, not a novel idea. Mike Silva suggested a Juan Miranda-for-Billy Wagner swap and Bart Hubbuch has been pushing a trade to the Bronx as well. The Yankees could be, to borrow a phrase, a perfect fit for Billy Wagner. They have the cash, the potential mid-level prospect and the need for him. Let’s make a deal.


  1. JSquared says:

    Looked good in his first outting. If it only costs Miranda, why not.

    • zs190 says:

      It also costs 3.5 million(2.5 rest of year and presumably the 1 million buyout too, though Mets might pay some of it), Yankees have been very stingy when it comes to picking up salary this season, presumably near their budget cap.

      • JSquared says:

        We all know the money costs, but 95MPH from the left side, not knowing how good Damaso will be, it’s a no-brainer if the Yankees want a good lefty.

        • zs190 says:

          Oh yeah, Wagner seems like he’s back and he’s always been a tremendous reliever when he’s healthy. (180 ERA+ career, Mo might be the best ever but Wagner is arguably the second best reliever the last decade or so)

          I would love to have an arm like that in the pen but it is extremely expensive, 3.5 million is a lot for a month and half of work for a reliever.

    • Bo says:

      Miranda will never see time in the Bronx.

  2. Mike Silva suggested a Juan Miranda-for-Billy Wagner swap…

    You twisted my arm. I’ll throw in Anthony Claggett, Kevin Cash, and Cody Ransom as well.

  3. Tom Zig says:

    That would allow us to have a possibility of 3 lefties in the bullpen?

    anddd we could have Enter Sandman play twice in one game!

    How cool would that be?

  4. jsbrendog says:

    while this might be a good idea, esp if it only costs miranda…..will the yanks take on that much salary?

  5. Mike HC says:

    If it is not my 2.5 million, I’m all for it!!!

  6. Mike Silva says:

    Thanks for the link guys.

    I found Mets fans humorously funny when they trashed Miranda. Now, I don’t think Miranda is Mark Teixeira, but he has some decent numbers at AAA. He very well could have been the Yankees starting 1B if they didn’t acquire Tex. Some Mets fans rather not get anything good from the Yanks because they don’t want to help the Yanks. They trash Miranda, with one fan saying he “only” has an OBP of .350 – excuse me?

    As for throwing in Anthony Claggett, bring it on. I thought asking for more than one prospect would sound greedy.

    Wagner would be PERFECT for the Yankees. I was at the game last night and he consistently hit 95 mph on the gun. His command was slightly off (just against Chipper), but that could be due to nerves. This type of acquisition would make the Yankees bullpen nasty.

    As a Mets fan Wagner deserves another shot at a ring – I hope it happens and the Mets could get a solid prospect in return.

  7. Stryker says:

    i may be the only one, but i think claiming billy wagner after he throws ONE inning since coming back from surgery is silly. obviously the mets are tricking a team into thinking they’ve caught lightning in a bottle – good for them. but is it a given that he’ll hold up for the rest of the season?

    i don’t know..seems REALLY short sighted to judge a guy post-TJS on one inning of work.

    • Well, scouts who watched his rehab appearances saw similar results. Sometimes, that’s a chance you have to take. The Yankees need Wagner for 2.5 months at most, and that’s it.

    • jsbrendog says:

      obviously the mets are tricking a team into thinking they’ve caught lightning in a bottle

      so what youre saying is they sent him out there and told him, hey we know youre nto healed and sucky, but throw 95 and strike two guys out so we can trick someone into trading for you?

    • zs190 says:

      He made 7 appearances in the minors before and scouts were very impressed with his stuff so it’s not just 1 game. Really if it’s just the money, I would give it a shot, but Yankees have been very cost conscious lately (Sherman also noted that they don’t currently have interest in Wagner) so I am not holding my breath on this one, but it’s an interesting idea.

    • whozat says:

      “obviously the mets are tricking a team into thinking they’ve caught lightning in a bottle ”

      That’s far from obvious.

      This guy was a premier arm before the surgery, and it looks like his velo is fine. His command may prove to be shakier than it appeared last night, but I assume he had a rehab assignment. And I assume the Yanks had some guys looking at him during that assignment.

      If they think his command will be good enough, pay the money and send over a warm body. It’s kind of a no-brainer. The upside, if tsjc, is ridiculous. And the risk is money.

  8. thebusiness says:

    Give them both Duncan and Miranda and let them try Miranda at first and Duncan in Left (they should let Sheffield go to whoever claims him off irrevocable waivers).

  9. Raf says:

    would the Yankees really add that much salary though? they seemed pretty against it from what was being reported around the trade deadline. but adding Wagner would be killer. even if Marte rights his ship in the last month.

    • True, but most of the other options of adding on money were guys who were both way more money AND way crappier.

      I can understand saying “We’re not going to add money” when that money is 15M for Bronson Arroyo or 26M for Aaron Harang.

      This is 2.5M for an elite closer.

      • Raf says:

        thats true. plus it would only be a one year thing compared to a multi-year situation with either of those guys. this move would seriously anchor the bullpen.

      • Tony says:

        This is 2.5 for a headcase 38 year old coming off TJ who has all of 1IP this season. You guys love to rehab players in the majors, eh?

        • Mattingly's Love Child says:

          I believe he’s pitched 7 rehab appearances in the minors. Now I wouldn’t classify that as extensive, that is more than the mere 1ip that you suggest.

          I would also assume that scouts watched those rehab appearances as well. Most teams know the Mets are out of it and Wagner could be a tradeable commodity that could help a team down the stretch or in the playoffs. So I would imagine that they watched his rehab appearances closely.

          That all being said, of course there is no guarantee that he is all the way back. If he ever is, it probably wouldn’t be until next year.

          • Tony says:

            I assume some scout was watching Wang and Mitre too. It’s generally a bad idea to have people rush right off TJ surgery and onto the MLB roster of your contending team. Disregarding the money, it’s dumb because there’s an 80% chance of him having a setback/being ineffective in the next month.

  10. thebusiness says:

    Also, Miranda isn’t exactly a cheap minor league player. He’s signed to a major league deal through next year so you get some of that money you spend on Wagner covered.

  11. Jim Lane says:

    Wagner > Hughes > Mo would be something. I say go for it.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

      With Wagner in there, you can transition Hughes back into a starter.

      • Bryan says:

        Thats what I hope, it adds another arm for the coveted 8th inning and gets rid of our 5th starter troubles, and it gives hughes more innings. Its a win-win in my book.

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

          Wagner > Hughes > Mo would be something. I say go for it.

          DUDE! WTF?

          never write it that way…you just wrote that wagner was better than hughes who was better than Mo. go get a lightning rod…

          Coke/Fredo/Bruney if needed, then Hughes–>Wagner–>Mo.

          It becomes an 8 inning game for CC, 6 for AJ, and 5 for Joba, which kinda works out well for him. Andy gets to throw the fourth game, and if needed, CC goes again.

      • AndrewYF says:

        Yeah, next year.

        If Hughes was going to be transitioned back into a starter right now, he wouldn’t start in the majors until the middle of September. And then he’d go right back into the bullpen for the playoffs.


      • Chris says:

        Not this year.

  12. Tom Zig says:

    So what happens if the waivers expire?

    Get ‘er done. We would only increase our reputation as the Evil Empire

  13. jsbrendog says:

    my eyes cant stop deceiving me. even though i know i am reading “waGNer” I cant help but perceive “waNGer” haha

    that taiwanese bastard!

  14. Senor A. Boy says:

    I was at the game last night too. It was also weird how Wagner exited to Enter Sandman when he walked off the mound. The whole thing made me feel a little dirty.

  15. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    Give Omar a look at the Yankees DSL teams, that is where he will find the best fit for the Mets. He could have anyone (except MC).

    And since entrance music seems to be a hot topic… how about this? (safe, not the best quality, its a live version)

    My preference: (safe)

  16. Jon says:

    Wouldn’t Wagner have to pass through waivers before he could get to the Yankees?
    If so, I’m sure the Red Sox would block the deal since they are behind the Yanks.

    • Thomas A. Anderson says:

      Mets could dump Wagner and his 2.5 mil salary on the Sox for nothing when they already have Okajima.

    • From the article that Ben linked to in the post:

      It’s unlikely Wagner would be claimed, because any team claiming him would be on the hook for approximately $2.7 million of his $8.5 million salary for this year, plus a $1 million buyout of his option for 2010. So if, as expected, he goes unclaimed, the Mets would be able to trade him.

      If the 38-year-old left-hander is claimed, the Mets would have until Tuesday afternoon to work out a deal with the team that claims him.

      Wagner’s contract includes a no-trade clause, but New York-area newspapers are reporting that Wagner would not make that an issue.

  17. Tony says:

    I can’t wait for people to say “these are the new, poor Yankees” because they don’t want to take a flyer on an overpriced 38 year old coming off TJ who has a horrific stretch run/playoff history to throw MAYBE 10 innings the rest of the season.

    • Tony says:

      To follow this point, the string of COMPLETELY unrealistic acquisitions that have become consensus opinions this season has been incredible.

      Why don’t these cheap bastards trade for Street? (Top 5 teams LOVE to deal young closers)

      Why don’t these cheap bastards trade for Duchscherer (0IP, hasn’t seen a mound at any level in weeks)

      They aren’t going to blow prospects and millions and millions of dollars on redundancies/reclamation projects because it’s stupid, not because they don’t have the money on hand.

      • Tom Zig says:

        Prospects? Who said anything about prospects? Plus whats like $4 million (2.7 + buyout) to the Yankees? That’s like half of what they spent on the draft.

  18. If the only prospect cost was Miranda, I’d be all for it.

  19. Reggie C. says:

    it’d be interesting to see whether Theo responds with a block. Wagner upgrades the ‘pen to a level Marte simply cant match. question: what becomes of Coke or Marte; does someone go?

    • jsbrendog says:

      he won’t get claimed because if theo claims him whats stopping the mets from just letting him go to boston and them being on the hook for 2.7 mill?

      as for roster stuff. there’s only what, 10 games left in august? not even?

      so coke goes down til sept 1 because he has options and then boom he is back up. and if miranda is the trade then that solves the 40 man

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

        so coke goes down til sept 1 because he has options and then boom he is back up. and if miranda is the trade then that solves the 40 man

        ok i’m not waiting for $man anymore…JSB you call omar…NOW KID!

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Yeah I was wondering about that. If Marte is effective then perhaps Coke or Robertson gets sent down. If he isn’t well if the Yanks get Wagner then Marte could go back to AAA I suppose.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

      3 lefties in the bullpen would be a GOOD problem to have.

    • This is going to sound silly, but if Wagner is claimed, neither Coke nor Robertson should go down. Mitre should be DFA’d. You lost a little bit of flexibility with Gaudin by essentially forcing him to start and having “only” one long man (Aceves) but you could easily cover the loss of flexibility with the extra arm of Wagner. If Wagner is claimed:

      Go with a rotation of:



  20. Russell NY says:

    Wagner would put us over the top.

    Robertson, Bruney, Coke, Wagner, Hughes, Mariano

    Holy smokes batman!

  21. Tom Zig says:

    its 1 PM do you know where your Wagner is?

  22. mryankee says:

    Hey its after 1pm did the yanks get billy wagner?

  23. E-ROC says:

    Trading Claggett, Miranda, and Cash for Billy Wagner does clear up some roster space and gives the Mets some warm bodies.

  24. mryankee says:

    Yeah wagner is probably better than Aceves has been-hard throwing lefties are always valuable. We can get rid of the tin man Damaso Marte-was he not like dominant in Pittsburgh?

  25. JSquared says:

    John Murphy 2-2 with a Double!!

  26. Russell NY says:

    And Juan Miranda is spanish so the mets would love him

  27. rbizzler says:

    Quick question that the googles couldn’t solve for me:

    Wagner is a Type A FA right now, but if the Mets don’t pick up his option are they still entitled to comp picks if he signs elsewhere?

    This was one of the theories put forth on Silva’s post by Mets fans not enamored of his Miranda proposal.

    • Mike bk says:

      no. they he would become a ufa with the mets having no rights. if they kept him through next year they would have his comp rights the following year but would also be risking him at a 12 mil salary.

    • Thomas says:

      I believe if the option is declined, the team is entitled to a comp picks. However, in order to get the picks you would have to offer Wagner arbitration, which no one would do since he would probably get like $12M in a arbitration.

      • Patch says:

        don’t they do arbitration based upon the previous years work?

        i doubt he would get anywhere near 5 million, let alone 12.

    • Ed says:

      Wagner is a Type A FA right now, but if the Mets don’t pick up his option are they still entitled to comp picks if he signs elsewhere?

      They get comp picks if all of these things happen:

      1) Mets decline his option
      2) Mets offer him arbitration
      3) Wagner declines arbitration
      4) Wagner signs with another team

      If Wagner accepts arbitration, he’ll make around what he makes now, if not more. Considering he’s old and coming off Tommy John, it’s very unlikely that anyone will offer him close to what he’s making now, so the odds are if he was offered arbitration he’d accept it.

      • rbizzler says:

        Sweet, thanks. Mets fans are smoking crack if they think that is going to happen. The Wilpons are flat broke and paying Wagner his remaining salary plus the 2-3 million or so it would take to sign the comp picks is not happening.

  28. mustang says:

    I TOTALLY agree with Ben on this one. I have been eyeing Wagner he is the perfect fit for the Yankees. The only thing is I thinking they might be some teams who need him more who would be willing to give up more in prospect. i.e. Texas.

  29. miketotheg says:

    Wags is a punk. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Team chemistry right now is off the hook! We are going to the WS as is! (if we can beat the angels)

  30. Mike Silva says:

    According to Heyman Billy Wagner was claimed. I will see if we can find out what team, although this news will probably move faster than whatever resources I have.

    • Bill says:

      Considering we’d be last in line to claim him I don’t think we’ll get him. Plus I don’t think we’d pay the 3.5M to get him.

      I think the team will just wait to see if we can’t get anything from Damaso. Otherwise we’ll go into the playoffs with our current roster minus Mitre plus Gardner.

  31. Joseph M says:

    I think Mike Silva’s information is accurate so this discussion is over. The Yankees would have had the very last crack at him so it never would have happened.

  32. Mike Silva says:

    Station in Florida says its the Red Sox, take it for what its worth.

    Cerrone over at Metsblog has the Rays in it as well

  33. Dela G says:

    damn the red sox

  34. [...] week, I had urged the Yankees to claim Wagner, and in the end, one of the two teams that could block the Yankees from acquiring the lefty did so. [...]

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