Billy Wagner Succumbs To The Pressure

4:12 PM UPDATE: Billy Wagner just signed on to the trade to Boston. Wagner relented and decided it was better to go for a ring rather than stick it out in New York. Good move for him. If he succeeds in his role, their is a bigger payday ahead for him.


Billy Wagner has told the New York Mets he will not waive his no-trade clause for a potential trade to the Boston Red Sox. Wagner stated that while Boston agreed not to pick up the $8 million option Wagner has on his contract for 2010, the Red Sox will not waive their ability to offer Wagner arbitration this off season.

By offering Wagner arbitration, and assuming Wagner is granted Type A free agency status, the Red Sox would then receive the signing teams first round pick (if they are not in the top 15 picks) and a compensatory first round pick. If the Sox offered Wagner arbitration, then any potential teams which wants to sign Wagner will forfeit their first round pick.

With the upcoming collective bargaining agreement seeking to curtail “over slot” high amateur bonuses, there is increased pressure on GM’ s to sign more guys now build from within. Draft picks, especially first round talent, are hot commodities.

Conversely, many veteran players last off season were not offered arbitration by their teams, and those which were offered arbitration did not get the big contract offers as they would have liked.

With the attached draft picks on his free agent status, their will be a diminished value next year for Wagner to close for another team for bigger money.

Teams did not want to give up their top picks. And with performance enhancing drugs out of the picture, most teams are going with youth from their own systems rather than the free agent market.

But one are where free agency is still prevalent and important is the closer market, and Wagner realizes this. Based upon his successful two appearances thus far in 2009 and his velocity at 95 MPH, Wagner feels he can make much more on the open market, without any variables (Type A status) affecting his money making position. Wagner just may well get a two year deal for much more than he would make next year alone-if he allowed to be an unrestricted free agent.

Was the claiming of Wagner by the Red Sox a ploy to get the two first round picks or did Boston really think they needed the lefty reliever/closer?

Some Red Sox players, specifically Jonathan Papelbon, have mentioned the Sox do not need Wagner and that he “hasn’t really pitched this year.”  Wagner retorted with a few choice comments about Papelbon.

The Red Sox are just coming off losing two of three to the Yankees, and are in the thick of the wild card chase, now leading the Texas Rangers by a game and a half, one in the loss column. At Wagner’s age and with all the money made that he is ever going to spend, why wouldn’t Billy agree to go to Boston? It might be his last chance to get a World Series Ring.

It’s about the money now, and there is too much pressure in Boston.  

That is why I feel Wagner doesn’t want to go to the Red Sox during the wild card race. Too much pressure to perform. There is no pressure right now with the Mets in the 8th inning, pitching every other day or every three days. There will be mucho pressure in Boston during tight game in mid-to-late September.

And Wagner knows he has not handled playoffs situations very well. His career record in playoff games is 1-1, 3 saves, 8.71 ERA in 11 appearances.

A non-pressured Wagner will perform better, and could command more money next year than his “measly” $8 million option.

I am surprised at this, but Wagner is looking at only the money. 

Now Omar Minaya sees the bigger picture and knows he needs to get younger throughout the Met system, which is done through the draft. Omar has never been a draft and develop GM, but this is his last chance to build a team. He now wants the two picks if Wagner is designated a Type A free agent.

Be careful what you wish for Omar. If Wagner doesn’t feel that a better offer during the off season is available, Wagner just might accept the arbitration, the Mets could be stuck with more than $8 million for one year on Wagner, and not get any draft picks.

Let’s see. An overpaid 8th inning guy in 2010 with an injury history on an eight figure contract?

Not very appealing if you’re the middle of the rung Mets.

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