Great news Mets fans….jettisoning Billy Wagner to the Red Sox at the end of last season saved the team $3.2 million. All it cost them was the chance at gaining two very high draft picks. Adam Rubin outlines the details in his latest blog post on the Daily News website.
I remember being around the team back in August when Wagner was put on waivers and claimed by the Red Sox. The talk amongst those that were covering the team was that the Mets were crazy not to keep Wagner and offer the Type A free agent arbitration in hopes he would decline (which he did) and sign a deal elsewhere (which he did – 1 year/$7 million with the Braves). Who needs two awesome draft picks when you have an extra 3.2 mil to sign Henry Blanco and Alex Cora? Pathetic.
As far as what Wagner signing with the Braves means in relation to the Mets, I say it means that Mike Gonzalez is now available
and the Mets should target him in a big way. One would think Gonzalez (who declined the Braves arbitration offer) and fellow closer/set-up man Rafael Soriano are done in Atlanta with Wagner now in the fold. I saw this southpaw pitch enough over the past year or so after he returned from major elbow surgery to know that his nasty. His numbers from 2009 weren’t off the charts, and he did manage to blow seven of his 17 save chances, but his almost 3-1 K/BB ration (90-33) pretty darn impressive. I’d love to slide this guy and his 95-MPH fastball and wicked slider behind K-Rod to form as powerful an 8th-9th inning combo as there is in baseball.
Of course, there will plenty of teams interested in Gonzalez and because he is also a Type A free agent, the Mets would have to surrender draft picks but I’d sure like to see Omar and crew make a run at this guy regardless. Don’t bet on it.