BY MICHAEL GANCI
When Billy Wagner returned from injury last season, I didn’t think the Mets were going to have much use for him. I was actually at Citi Field when he made his return, and the crowd was clearly excited to see him.
He returned with a vengeance, and he pitched so well that the Mets were able to trade him for two players to be named later.
Although he only pitched in 15.2 innings during the 2009 season, he was valuable in limited work. He had a phenomenal 1.72 ERA, and he struck out an astonishing 26 hitters during that span.
Now he is reaping the rewards. Wagner inked a one-year pact today worth $7 million to be the closer for the rival Braves.
Boy, doesn’t that make for an interesting storyline.
We all see where this is going. At some point during the season, Wagner is going to become a thorn in the Mets’ side. Then he is going to say something that is going to upset the fanbase. Billy has a history of speaking his mind, so don’t be surprised if he tries to stir the pot to get the Braves back into the divisional conversation.
Wagner comes in to replace the colorful Mike Gonzalez, who the Braves seem to be letting roam to greener pastures. Reliever Rafael Soriano hit the market as well, so this will hardly be enough to keep the Braves’ pen intact.
The Mets need to respond to this. The Phillies took Brian Schneider. I would respond to that by saying thank you. Then the Braves pick up Wagner, and that is more of an impact move. The Mets need to retaliate.
Sorry Chris Coste, you are not a retaliation. Coste already has paved his way to the exit by saying that he will always be a Phillie. Why don’t you make me puke?
Here’s an idea. How about a new bullpen addition? The Mets let J.J. Putz walk, so why don’t we go after someone that the Tigers allowed to walk? I am talking about Brandon Lyon. He has always been dependable, and he is coming off of a rock-solid season.
Word is that the Yankees are interested. Answer me this: Who aren’t the Yankees interested in?
The bottom line is this. Money talks, and it’s time for the Mets to make a statement.