Wagner scheduled to arrive in Atlanta today
With last year’s forgettable episodes with Rafael Furcal and Jake Peavy in the rear view mirror, Braves general manager Frank Wren has found the start of this year’s offseason to be much smoother and satisfying.
Realizing the strong possibility that Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano will be pitching elsewhere next year, Wren set his sights on Billy Wagner and the accomplished closer now finds himself looking forward to the opportunity to play for Bobby Cox in Atlanta.
Multiple Major League sources have confirmed that Wagner has agreed to the terms of the one-year, $7 million offer made by the Braves. The offer includes a $6.5 million option for the 2011 season that would vest if Wagner finishes 50 games next year.
Wagner was expected to arrive in Atlanta on Wednesday morning to undergo a physical. If his travel isn’t affected by the heavy rain that is currently soaking the Atlanta area, the deal could officialy be announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Interest in Wagner grew when he made a successful return from Tommy
John elbow reconstruction surgery during the final two months of this
past season. In 17 combined appearances with the Mets and Red Sox, he
posted a 1.72 ERA, limited opponents to a 1.72 ERA and recorded 26
strikeouts over 15 2/3 innings.
Wagner comes to Atlanta with the intent to enhance his already-impressive credentials. The 38-year-old reliever’s 385 career saves rank sixth on Major League Baseball’s all-time list. He stands 39 saves shy of matching the record that John Franco set for left-handed closers.
Now that Wren has started his offseason with Tim Hudson’s contract extension and the acquisition of Wagner, the next big move could invole the trade of either Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez. But it still seems like this deal may have to wait until John Lackey decides where he’ll pitch next year.