Writing that closer Billy Wagner is waiting to see who the next Phillies GM is before negotiating further, the NY Post’s Joel Sherman adds,
Once he is on the market, Wagner can expect the Mets to aggressively pursue him. The club has prioritized closer as its No. 1 need. Wagner is the Mets’ top choice, followed by the Orioles’ B.J. Ryan, who also is about to become a free agent. The Mets had just about all of their important executives in Philadelphia for a Sept. 26-28 series, and one reason was to see Wagner up close. The veteran lefty pitched one inning, but it was an overpowering inning.
In fact, the Mets were flabbergasted by how good Wagner was late in the season despite being 34 years old and throwing the second most innings (77 2/3) of his career. Wagner had a 0.74 second-half ERA, blew one save after May 24, and an NL official who saw the Phillies in September said the lefty was still reaching 100 mph at times and insisted, “If the Mets sign Billy Wagner, they will be the favorites to win the NL East next year; that is how good he was late in the year.”
The Mets believe if they sign Wagner and trade for a power bat (Manny Ramirez or Carlos Delgado) they elevate into strong contenders. Stringfellow said his client has not eliminated any area of the country. Philadelphia media reports say Wagner is seeking about $30 million for three years. Stringfellow said his client wants “a team that can compete for a championship and give him the chance to reach 400 career saves.”
In yesterday’s Newsday, Jon Heyman dismissed any remaining chances that Mike Piazza would return to the Mets, along with a claim from Piazza’s agent that as many as 3 NL clubs are interested in Metal Mike as a full-time catcher. Of baseballs, presumably.