Billy Wagner has long been known for his ability to close games with the best of them. However, he is also prone to his short-tempered bursts of emotion, which sometimes gets himself in trouble with what he says.
Yesterday may have been one of those days. During an interview for mets.com, he was very critical of the Mets off season moves to date and expressed his displeasure over the losses of Tom Glavine and Paul Lo Duca.
Regarding Glavine he said:
"Losing Tom is big. It’s a lot more than the 13 games he won. It’s what he did for John Maine and Oliver Perez and how professional he was. People want to focus on one bad game or just the day-to-day stats. He was one of the few leaders we had. We’re down 13 games already, plus all the games Tom deserved to win."
About Lo Duca he added this:
"Maybe he wasn’t the best receiver. I don’t know. But Paulie competed. He battled every day, and we had some guys who didn’t show up every day. They were satisfied if they got a hit and we lost. Paul was angry if he had four hits and we lost. And every one of the pitchers trusted him. He was a big part of what we did in 2006, and now he’s gone, too… It just worries me that we’re missing some important guys."
Regarding Willie’s reluctance to give roles to his bullpen pitchers:
"I understand what Willie wants — for a lot of guys to be able to pitch whenever they’re needed for as long as he needs them. I’m not sure you can have that. Guys are used to having roles. They’ll take the ball because that’s what the job is and that’s what the manager wants. But the idea is to get them into situations where they can be successful. I mean, you wouldn’t ask Carlos Delgado to bunt."
Regarding Omar’s lack of a plan:
"Someone asked me what I thought of our team, what team? I’m trying to be positive. I’m saying we have some good players. But I’m worried. The Braves are getting better, and the Phillies made a move acquiring Brad Lidge."
Is Billy Wagner right? Is he out of line for waving the warning flags ahead of the 2008 season?
He went on to say that he thinks trading Aaron Heilman would be a tragic mistake. He implied that without Lo Duca and Glavine on the team, he worried about where the competitive spark will come from among the remaining players.
Let’s face it… Billy Wagner expressed out loud what many Mets fans have been screaming about for the last five weeks. Yesterday I wrote about the two types of Mets fans and their expectation levels for the team.
Today, the "Dark Side" as I referred to them, found themselves a leader for their cause.
You hear fans and writers express their opinions all day long on Mets sites just like this one. The "take things slow and easy" crowd twist and shout whenever their is a call for extreme action. The "we got to win right now" become infuriated with the laid-back opinions of their counterparts.
Regardless of what you read and what you believe, I know one thing is certain. When a player from the team starts saying things like this, it is a cause for concern. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Score one for the Dark Side…