Despite a public tiff with current Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, Billy Wagner is heading to Boston. Despite rumors last night that he would decline the trade, the left-handed reliever, 11 months removed from Tommy John Surgery, has approved a trade to the Red Sox, Jon Heyman reported a few minutes ago. Wagner has looked dominant in his rehab appearances and has thrown two scoreless innings with four strike outs for the Mets this month. The Red Sox will ship two players to be named later to New York and will pay Wagner a little over $3 million — a little over $2 million for this year plus a $1 million buyout for 2010 — for five weeks of regular season pitching.
Last 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. While Wagner, poor October track record notwithstanding, is a weapon in any bullpen, I believe the Red Sox made this move as much to block the Yanks as they did to improve their own team. Such are the ways of late-season trade machinations.