Wagner done for year, maybe for career?

When Billy Wagner was healthy and popping off on a regular basis, he often joked about retirement. He liked the idea of going out on his terms.

That’s gone now.

Wagner will have surgery to repair a torn MCL in his left elbow, and with recovery time of one year, we’re talking 2010. Wagner has his money, but what remains to be seen is whether he’ll have peace of mine and be willing to leave like this. No athlete wants to leave the game injured.

“That was a scenario that I was not expecting,” general manager Omar Minaya said today.

Wagner walked off the mound during a bullpen session Sunday afternoon. At 37, he has one year and $10.5 million left on the contract signed before the 2006 season.

The Mets hold an $8 million option for 2010, which they likely would not pick up without having seen him pitch next year.

Wagner saved 101 of his 385 career games with the Mets and was a two-time all-star. He lived up to his end of the bargain. Yes, he had blown saves, but nobody quite blew a save like Wagner.

Wagner went on the DL with a strained left forearm, Aug. 5, and the team has gone to a closer-by-committee role. Things were spotty at first, but Luis Ayala settled into the role by converting five of six save opportunities.

“Surgery was always a possibility if things did not get better,” Minaya said. “And we’re at the point right now where things did not get better. … In a lot of ways, you almost got the feeling that we were going to have to do this without Billy. Baseball is not about one guy. It’s about a team, and the concept of togetherness.”

7 thoughts on “Wagner done for year, maybe for career?

  1. while it may have a negative impact on this year’s team to be at their best for a potential post season run, i think knowing that they will need to find a new closer (not to mention re configure most, if not all of the bullpen) for next year and beyond will only help the mets.

    i also think in a lot of ways paying big money over 3 or more years for a closer is a waste of money.

    so, i suppose, that would mean i would probably be against signing k-rod to a multi year deal at 14 mil per.

    personally, i’d rather they use the money to resign perez.

  2. Alex,
    I totally agree with your post. The Mets need to spend there resources on starting pitching and re-configure the bull pen. I think the Mets also in the off season should sign Fuentes as there closer.

  3. Well, any hopes of a successful post season baring some miracle go down the drain.

    The easy decision now is to pick up delgado. find at least one starting pitcher and now find a worthy closer. oh yeah and the rest of the pen. I would keep smith – everyone else can go.

    pps. in keeping with last years theme we could use an OF too. FMart won’t be ready next year.

  4. I don’t know why you say that dave. Wagner has been one of the worst post season closers in history. Having him pitch when it counted most was the guarantee of post-season failure. And how can any Met fan forget that day in Philly when the O made the big comeback only to have Billy give it away. He is without the most over rated closer around. Now you have the hope of a real team player taking his opportunity and rising to the challenge. If Ayala is the man then I have to cede to Sadecki and admit Minaya knows what he’s doing. Good luck Ayala.

  5. As for next year. Pitching is the only thing you need spend big money on. The team;’s nucleus assuming Delgada is renewed has enough O to let Minaya continue his scrap heap routinge; Valentin, Tatis, Chavez have demonstrated that Minaya is well suited to find decent pieces at no cost. He also proved it with Argenis, who is a cheaper version of Caatillo but comes for minimum salary. And if they don’t work out you’re not stuck with them for four years. I know Sadecki says rightly that Castillo is a fine player. That was true, but he has no legs anymore whch makes him an albatross. The $$ need to go to OP and as david said the whole pen, excluding Smith. And one 5th starter if they think the farm doesn’t have anyone ready.

  6. Harry: You’re right on this. Their hitting has been spotty at times but they still are in first place. They need two starters and an overhaul of the bullpen, with eyes on a closer.-JD

  7. Harry,

    I know Billy did not do well for us in the post season and he gives up the L’s. However, he doesn’t vibrate on the mound like Benitez did and will take the ball and does stand up like a man to take the heat.

    There may be better pen people in baseball but not on this team. Not now anyway. I think the past month or so has proven that. Ayala has done a good job for us considering what we have. But can you seriously think this team can do anything with the pen we have come October?

    As for next year, we still need to find a solution in the OF. Perhaps that can be the platoon of Murphy/Evans. Please do not talk about the over the hill gang as our solution on the bench or the OF. Plenty of people on JD’s blog were rioting when we couldn’t win because they were all we had.

    We need pitching. I think we can all agree on that. The help we have in the minors is just out of reach. OP may be gone, Pedro is done and something is wrong with Maine. That leaves us with 2 pitchers and no pen.