Mets Would Be Smart To Keep Wagner… For Now

Jon Heyman is reporting that Billy Wagner has been claimed on waivers, probably by the Cubs, hopefully not the Phillies or Marlins who are also rumored to be interested. The Mets now have 3 days to either work out a trade, let him go with nothing in return, or pull him back as they did with Gary Sheffield.

My advice to Omar… I say pull him back and keep him…

Before all of you start jumping down my throat, allow me the courtesy of explaining my position.Jo

First, let me show you a few of the most recent deals signed by closers just before the 2009 season.

Brian Fuentes signed a free agent deal with the Angels for two years, $17.5 million dollars.

Brad Lidge signed an extension with the Phillies for three years, $37.5 million dollars.

Kerry Wood signed a free agent deal with the Indians for two years, $20.5 million dollars.

Francisco Rodriguez signed a free agent deal with the Mets for three years, $37 million dollars

A little more research before I get to my point. Here is a trade deadline deal that involved Orioles closer, George Sherrill.

Baltimore traded closer George Sherrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers for prospects Josh Bell (3B, Class AA) and Steve Johnson (P, Class AA). Bell had a .296 average, .364 OBP, 11 home runs and 44 RBI in 334 at-bats. Bell, fit the Oriole’s biggest need: a power-hitting corner infield prospect, and becomes the third baseman of the future. Johnson had a 9-5 record, 3.61 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 18 starts. The 21-year-old right-hander was born in Baltimore, drafted by the Dodgers in the 13th round of the 2005 draft and was recently called up to pitch for Chattanooga. He was ranked the 15th best prospect in the Dodgers system by Baseball America.

Here are a few reasons why hanging onto Wagner and picking up his option makes a lot of sense for the Mets.

  1. The option on Billy Wagner’s contract is just $8 million dollars. Far lower than the going rate for a premier closer such as him, especially a lefthander.
  2. The Mets would be able to get much more in value by waiting and trading him with with a bargain one-year contract, instead of peddling him to a contender with just one month left to the season.
  3.  The Mets would have more leverage by trading Billy Wagner at the Winter Meetings, than moving him now when every team knows how desperate they are.
  4. If the Mets financial fortunes should change for the better, or if their woes have been overstated, they can even opt to keep him and give the team a lethal 1-2 punch with Frankie Rodriguez.

The more Billy Wagner pitches and proves he’s healthy, the more the Mets would be able to get. It would be silly to cart him out there for 3-4 appearances and then just move him for table scraps without really letting him continue to pitch and increase his value to the Mets.

All I’m saying is that the Mets should consider all their options before making a move they might regret down the road. There was some speculation that the Marlins and Phillies might be interested in Wagner. Why in the world would we help them advance to the post season, and then see them pick up his option and either keep him or trade him for a boatload of talent? How does that scenario help the Mets?

Let’s rethink this whole trading Billy Wagner kick before we shoot ourselves in the foot. Last night’s performance changes everything.

About Joe D 7945 Articles
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.