A few months back I wrote a post defending the Wagner move. I still stand behind that decision despite the decision by the Braves to sign him to a $7M contract, giving the Boston Red Sox two first round picks, and leaving the Mets with just Chris Carter and Eddie Lora.
3 numbers makes me stand by that decision: 9-1-9. The first day of September.
It’s easy to criticize the deal now, and Newsday’s David Lennon does an excellent job detailing the reasons why it was a poor decision.
However, you have to consider this particular deal at the time it was made. Wagner had come off Tommy John surgery, is in his late 30’s, and only pitched a couple of innings prior to the deal. His health was still VERY much in question, as was his ability and velocity. The market had a glut of free agent closers coming up, and was expected to be a very drawn out poker game wait for free agents, much like last year.
In a season where Omar relied too heavily on things working EXACTLY right and consistently getting burned by it, he needed to play the odds. Credit goes to Billy for beating the odds, and Theo was a lucky recipient.
It is also quite likely that Wagner would not have gotten this deal had he stayed on the Mets, even if Wagner pitched just as well. The Braves were likely impressed by his late season and playoff performance, which would not mean as much playing out the string.
It hurts that the Mets lost again at a chance to restock their farm, but sometimes the right decisions lead to the wrong results. 2009 can’t end fast enough.
Posted by Robert Z