Tag: billy wagner

Happy Birthday Guillermo Mota and Billy Wagner

The Baseball Gods have given us Met fans a fun treat today. Two relievers whom evoke completely differently emotional responses share the same birthday. Since he used to set up for Wagner, it is only appropriate that we start with Guillermo Mota. Omar Minaya decided to trade for his services in 2006 after being designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians. He pitched well enough after being acquired, posting a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings, helping solidify the 8th inning. In the offseason, Mota got hit with a 50-game suspension for testing position for performance-enhancing drugs. Minaya decided to sign him to a 2-year deal despite this (apparently not putting together the reasoning behind his success). To no one’s surprise, he was terrible and was hated almost as soon as he stepped on the mound.

In 59.1 innings with the Mets, Mota posted an ugly 5.76 ERA and gave up 8 gopher balls. In November of 2007, Minaya parted ways with his investment and shipped him to the Brewers for Johnny Estrada. Thanks for PED-assisted 2006 Mota, and Happy 38th Birthday!

The Sandman (Flushing version) enters now as the birthday boy. Only in New York can the tabloids make a controversy out of music that closers choose. On November 29 of 2005, Billy Wagner was plucked off the free agent market to shore up our closer situation. Despite having a tendency to blow saves in important games (much like Trevor Hoffman), Wagner had a nice run with the Metropolitans. He had save totals of 40, 34, and 27 and his ERA never rose above 2.63. Happy Birthday Billy “The Kid” Wagner!

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Time To Assess the Billy Wagner Trade

It feels like decades ago, but it was only a year and a few months past that the Mets traded Billy Wagner to the Red Sox in return for Chris “The Animal” Carter and a slugging youngster named Eddie Lora.

At the time, the deal appeared to be a salary dump by the Mets, who were eager to rid themselves of the $3.7M owed to Wagner.

Check that; it didn’t just “appear” to be a salary dump — it clearly was.

While the Mets relieved themselves of nearly four million dollars, they also

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Braves Sign Takashi Saito

saito-redsoxIn a matter of 48 hours, the Braves have rebuilt their bullpen.

A day after signing Billy Wagner to be their closer, Atlanta wasted no time in locking up a setup man — Takashi Saito.

Saito was signed to a one-year, $3.2M contract. And just like that, the 8th and 9th innings are solved for the Braves.

I know what you’re thinking: a 39-year-old closer and a 40-year-old setup man sounds like a formula for trouble — particularly when both oldsters have suffered elbow issues in the past two years. But Wagner has a new elbow, and Saito cruised through 56 appearances last year — pitching in the AL East, no less.

All told, the Braves spent a total of $10.2M and a one-year commitment to shore up the back of their bullpen with two standout veterans. Compare and contrast that to the Mets’ strategy last winter of tying up K-Rod for 4 years and spending a total of $60M for him and J.J. Putz to finish up games in 2009. Now, which bullpen makeover made better sense?

So, to conclude the activity for the day: the Phillies added a Gold Glover to their infield, the Braves completed the overhaul of their bullpen, and the Mets signed two backup catchers.

The offseason is still young.

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Billy Wagner Signs with Braves

According to multiple sources (originally Ken Rosenthal), former Mets closer Billy Wagner has signed a one-year, $7M contract with the Atlanta Braves.

Yee ha. Can’t wait to see Wags 18 times a year.

Hat tip to MetsToday reader “Walnutz15”, who is quite perturbed. Says Walnutz:

So, as we figured from the start — the Mets made their typical salary dump trade at the deadline…..acquiring Chris Carter; who could be a clone of a handful of players they currently have (some promise with the stick; no defensive position).

Meanwhile, the Red Sox take a “risk”; offer him the arbitration after the season — knowing he’d have no chance to close in Boston — and now receive the Braves’ 1st round pick and a sandwich pick in the next season’s draft.

Chris Carter and Eddie Lora + $3 or so million to waste away on Alex Cora?

Just defines this mess of a franchise……….they’d rather overpay old, banged-up scrap-heap friends of the program – than invest in the MLB Draft.

Have to say I’m with Walnutz on this one. Though Carter arrived as the most polished hitter in the Mets’ farm system, there are doubts he has enough ability to rise above his status as a “AAAA” hitter. Lora is highly projectable. Do Carter and Lora equal two first round picks? More to the point, is the Mets’ system more desperate for players like Carter and Lora or two picks? That one is arguable, depending upon your perspective. I’m in the camp that believes the Mets need to build more for 2015 than 2010, so I’d lean toward the picks. But, you never know — Chris Carter could turn out to be the next Travis Hafner, and/or Lora may develop into something better than the Mets can draft in June 2010.

But, I’m also reacting with more emotion than logic. It is annoying that Wagner stayed in the NL East, and we’ll constantly be reminded of the trade if Carter doesn’t pan out. I might feel differently if Wags went to the AL — after all, the Mets may not have been smart enough to make the most of those draft picks anyway.

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Chris Carter DFA’d

According to MLBTradeRumors (hat tip to NY Baseball Digest), the Red Sox have DFA’d Chris Carter — presumably the other “player to be named later” in the Billy Wagner trade.

I’m not sure what exactly this means, mainly because I don’t own (nor can I find online) an official guide to MLB rules regarding waivers, the “end” of the season, “designated for assignment”, and players to be named later.

What I do know is that once a player is “designated for assignment”, his team has ten days to trade, release, or waive him. I *think* Carter would have to clear waivers before being traded to the Mets — otherwise this move would’ve been made weeks ago. I’m also not sure how the “ten days” figures in, considering that the regular season ends before then. I *think* that the ten days can include the postseason — and run right through the World Series and perhaps a few days after the last game of the WS.

I’m going to take a wild stab and guess that Carter will now be subjected to irrevocable waivers — meaning if he’s claimed, the Bosox can’t pull him back. But since they’re irrevocable, I don’t believe the claiming team has to give up anything in return — so the “trade” part of the DFA doesn’t apply.

Further, if no teams claim Carter before the Mets get their chance, does that mean the deal is complete when/if the Mets do claim him?

If you can find an official link explaining what can happen here, or if you are a licensed MLB agent, please comment below.

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Manuel Perpetuates Blame Game

manuel-ghandi-smAh, now it’s all clear. Perhaps I was too harsh on Frankie Rodriguez, Johan Santana, and Carlos Beltran. By blaming others, finger-pointing, and driving the bus over their teammates, they were merely carrying out the ethos set in place by their field general.

Because yet again, Jerry Manuel does his own finger-pointing to explain the Mets’ miserable season. When asked about the possibility of losing 90+ games this season, Manuel was quoted last night during the SNY postgame (and recorded on MLB.com):

“You have to go back to the health issue,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “If you don’t have those pieces in place, it’s difficult to do anything, and do anything well and do it consistently.”

(hat tip to TheRopolitans)

See? Blame game. It fits nicely. I absolves Teflon Jerry from responsibility. He can blame the circumstances around him for the Mets’ dismal record, as if he is somehow separate from it. How can he possibly win baseball games when he doesn’t have the “pieces” ?

Funny, though, that this time last year the media and much of the fanbase couldn’t congratulate Manuel enough for leading the Mets into the Promised Land (well, they never guessed ANOTHER collapse would occur in the final days). He was some kind of Zen wizard, regaling journalists with his koan-like bits of wisdom, and managing the Mets with a measured balance of father-like encouragement and stern discipline.

Heck, one journalist referred to Manuel as a magician, and suggested he could win “Manager of the Year”.

Carlos Delgado was a one-man wrecking crew because Jerry motivated him to do so. Fernando Tatis hit like Ted Williams for a month because Jerry gave him the chance. Daniel Murphy looked like the next Wade Boggs because Jerry “worked so well with youngsters”. Jose Reyes was fulfilling his superstar promise because Jerry knew how to keep him focused. Carlos Beltran and David Wright were MVP candidates because Jerry was giving them just the right amount of rest. Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez turned their seasons around because Jerry had them working with Dan Warthen.

And if by some miracle the Mets did NOT make it to the postseason, everyone knew exactly why — because the bullpen would fail.

Huh … sound familiar?

Even amidst all the miracles Manuel was spinning on his way to sainthood, there was a built-in excuse. It would be the fault of the men in the bullpen — not the man managing it — if things turned sour. Jerry’s irresponsible abuse of arms from June through August would be forgotten when the relief crew collectively and colossally collapsed. It would be the fault of Joe Smith, Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, or the injury to Billy Wagner, if the Mets blew it again. Anyone but Jerry.

This is the culture that Jerry Manuel created — one where the team learns to find reasons why they lose, rather than creating solutions to win.

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Mets Get PTBNL from Red Sox

eddie-loraAnyone else out there not paying attention to Mets news over this past weekend?

In case you missed it:

On Saturday, the Red Sox sent to the Mets one of the two players to be named later in the Billy Wagner deal:

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Yankees Block Carter – So What?

Yesterday I thought we’d reached a low point when the DFA of a career minor leaguer caused excitement in the Mets blogosphere. Today, I’m seeing we fans sink even lower in this steep abyss of failure and mediocrity we’re calling the 2009 season — because now, we’re mad at the Yankees for preventing the Mets from auditioning another career minor leaguer.

Don’t get me wrong — I was excited as the next guy at the possibility of seeing some new (and healthy) blood come into Flushing, and wow us with his homerun hitting skills. But now, various sources are reporting that Chris Carter will be staying in Boston, because the Yankees claimed him on waivers as a handcuffing strategy (it forced the Red Sox to pull Carter back and keep him on their 40-man roster). Disappointing, yes, the news will hardly ruin my September.

First of all, the Yankees could care less about who the Mets want to audition in meaningless September games, and that consideration likely never entered their minds. The Yankees, after all, are focused on “meaningful games in September” (as Fred Wilpon so aptly describes them). And I can’t blame them — why should the Yankees do the Mets any favors, particularly in the heat of a pennant race? Did the Mets do the Yankees a favor by giving Billy Wagner to the Red Sox? And in return for peanuts, no less? Along with the potentiality of the Bosox getting two extra picks in next year’s June draft? Hmm … LHP who throws mid-90s and has closing experience … draft picks … in return for two non-prospects … yeah, we should be ticked at Brian Cashman for screwing up the Mets’ September, since Omar Minaya was so kind in helping out the Yankees!

Second, the blame is misplaced if it’s on the big bad Yankees. You want to blame someone for screwing up Chris Carter’s audition? How about blaming the Red Sox, who should have pushed Carter through waivers a month ago. It’s standard routine to send all your players through waivers after the trading deadline — no doubt the Bosox passed through people like Mike Lowell, Rocco Baldelli, Takashi Saito, etc. — so why not Carter?

Third, consider the silver lining. The fact that Carter won’t be in New York means there will be opportunities for others. For example, maybe without Carter around, the Mets will consider claiming Matt Murton to try out in left field. Perhaps not having Carter’s means Josh Thole will get some reps at first base. Or it could mean someone like Lucas Duda or Ike Davis gets a surprise promotion. At the very least, it should mean more at-bats for Angel Pagan and Cory Sullivan, and more first base experience for Dan Murphy. Seeing those three players for another 25-30 games will be helpful in determining where (or whether) they fit into the plans for 2010.

But hey, if you want to project your anger toward the Bronx, that’s your prerogative — and if it helps you cope with this sorry excuse for an organization, then go ahead and let it all out. Personally, I’d rather be “mad” at the Yankees for something more worthwhile.

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