Mets' Wagner Won't OK Trade To Boston Unless Sox Decline Option

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

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.

"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.

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 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.

He hasn't pitched since, but he was available out of the bullpen Sunday and Monday, Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.

Wagner is interested in ending 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 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."


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
KOLO-TV 4850 Ampere Drive Reno, NV 89502
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 54598687 - kolotv.com/a?a=54598687