We interrupt your regularly scheduled moping for some interesting baseball discussion……
Billy Wagner is set to make his final rehab start tonight, and barring any setback he will be activated Sunday. This will give the Mets about a week to decide what to do with him. He appears to have recovered nicely, hitting low 90s on the gun and not allowing a run thus far through his rehab. He has yet to pitch in back to back games.
Wagner reportedly has already garnered some interest from an AL team. The Mets wisely, and that phrase has been used way too infrequently this season, put him through waiver earlier this month so they’ll be free to deal him now to any team.
But is dealing Wagner the best move?
According to the Elias Rankings, Billy Wagner will be a Type A free agent. That means if the Mets offer arbitration and someone else signs him, the Mets will receive a 1st round and a supplemental 1st Round pick. With the Mets own 1st round pick likely to be protected (a team that finishes in the bottom 15 keeps the 1st Rounder no matter how many type A free agents they acquire), it would go a long way to restocking the farm system.
As an aside, it may not be as bad as many claim, as John Sickels reports.
Closers in baseball are hard to come by. If Wagner is anywhere close to what he was, a team will bite, regardless of the economy. It’s not like waiting on an outfielder or set up man for the price to drop.
Even if no one signs Wagner and he accepts arbitration, the Mets will have a strong setup man next year and a trade commodity. It is a risk at his price, but not an overly large one.
Remember, his rate on next year is reasonable for a closer, so a team on the fringe of a playoff race might take a chance for this year and activate his option for next. Most of this season is over, so the salary for 09 will pretty much be a wash for any acquiring club. Among the teams I can picture keeping tabs on Billy would be Texas, Tampa Bay, Cards, Cubs and Seattle.
It should be interesting to see what Wagner’s fate will be come August 31st.
Now here’s Ollie Williams with his Billy Wagner Prediction.
Posted by Tom Tucker, I mean Robert Z