During an interview with the New York Post two weeks ago injured Mets reliever, Billy Wagner was asked about what he role with the club would be. Wagner was very honest and blunt in his response about whether or not he thought he would have a significant spot in the bullpen.
“No. Not at all. I can’t see it. I think that would be foolhardy to even insinuate something like that,” he said. “I think what I would be is a Brian Stokes-type player. I might pitch once a week. I can’t see ‘em doing that.”
Stokes took offense to his teammate’s uncalled for remarks and rightfully so, as he has managed to keep himself out of the limelight and out of trouble with the media, which can’t necessarily be said for Wagner, who seems to have found trouble wherever he goes.
Rather than engaging in a war of words, Stokes seems to be showing Wagner up on the field. Since the article was published Stokes has appeared in 6 games, pitching 5 innings, while allowing no runs on one hit and striking out 3.
This includes a near perfect two inning performance tonight against the Rockies, in which Stokes allowed only one hit, which aided in holding off the resurgent Rockies and enabled the Mets to score the go ahead runs off of Fernando Tatis’ grand slam later in the game.
Pretty good for a $400,000 investment (which is all the Mets paid to acquire Stokes from the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2008 season).
In a club that has been full of change and inconsistency, Brian has proved himself to be reliable. Outside of a couple of rough outings in May and June, Stokes has been rock solid and has amassed a 3.69 ERA in 38 appearances this season.
In comparison, Billy Wagner, despite having a more illustrious career, has yet to throw a single pitch in the big league level. According to the Mets Wagner should return sometime in August. Even so there is no telling how effective he will be.
In short, Billy Wagner once again put his foot in his mouth and Brian Stokes has shown him and the rest of the baseball world that he is more than just the 25th man on the roster.