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The Braves would be a sweet spot for Billy Wagner

Nov 25, 2009, 10:50 AM EDT

And I’m not just saying that because I’m a Braves fan.  MLB.com’s Braves expert Mark Bowman thinks so too, reporting that Wagner’s agent has been in contact with Atlanta and making the excellent point that, though signing Wagner may very well cost a team a first round pick, the Braves are unique in that their need at closer will be occasioned by losing two relievers — Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez — each of whom will bring a similar compensation pick in return.

More generally, Wagner is the kind of guy Bobby Cox and the Braves brass loves: older and lower maintenance. He’s coming off of surgery sure, but at a point in his career where there isn’t a huge need for Cox to baby him.  He makes more sense in Atlanta than just about anyplace else.

Bowman cites Fernando Rodney as a fallback option, but after the John Rocker and Mark Wholers eras, I’m pretty sure that Bobby Cox swore off of wild things with great gas.  It’s a health thing. Both mental health and cardiovascular health.  Bobby’s old now and doesn’t need any more 20-pitch ninth innings than are absolutely necessary.

  1. Old Gator - Nov 25, 2009 at 11:07 AM

    When Ezra Pound arrived in Italy from Idaho (or whichever flyover state it was that he had fled), he famously said something to the effect of, “This is a nice place to arrive at from Idaho – but then, anyplace is a nice place to arrive at from Idaho.” (Pardon my lethargy this morning – I’m too worn out from stuffing possum and gator tail for dinner tomorrow to be bothered looking up the exact quote. I’ll do it Friday if this entire thread hasn’t been subsumed into cyberspace like seafloor plate at a subduction zone.) But I digress. Point is, for Billy Wagner, anyplace would be a nice place to arrive in from that cross between Groundhog Day and Titanic called the New York Mets.

  2. Mark Runsvold - Nov 25, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    It certainly was Idaho, Gator! We keep careful track of our famous (and sort of arguably famous) people here.
    I have a distaste for teams signing name, free-agent relievers, but Wagner at a discount wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world. He struck out 26(!) in 15.2 innings last season, so his stuff is obviously still getting the job done.
    P.S. Losing Gonzalez and Soriano at the same time… Ouch.

  3. Beanster - Nov 25, 2009 at 1:17 PM

    I would not wish Rodney and his career 4.6 BB/9 on anyone in need of a “closer”.

  4. Mark Runsvold - Nov 25, 2009 at 1:49 PM

    It really blows my mind that his name is being bandied about as a “proven closer option” or some such nonsense. His career FIP is over 4, as is his career ERA. He’s a below average relief pitcher, who happens to throw very hard. Good for him.
    If he gets more money than Rafael Soriano, I will quit baseball fandom. For like ten minutes.

  5. Old Gator - Nov 25, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    Thanks for sparing an overworked hauspaterfamilias in the throes of Native American Extermination Day dinner planning the effort of having to go look that up, Mark. I can understand your ambivalence about Pound, but honestly, his virulent fascism and mostly unreadable doggerel aside, wouldn’t you rather be represented in the public imagination by Pound than by Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix?
    Also, it seems to me that a pitcher who keeps serving gophers in the bottom of the ninth is still a closer of sorts, isn’t he?

  6. Mark Runsvold - Nov 25, 2009 at 3:07 PM

    I didn’t mean to say Pound was in the “sort of arguably famous” category. If he’s not famous, then we don’t have any famous natives. Anyway, I blame the fascism and eventual insanity on his leaving Idaho. Happens all the time.
    I do disavow any geographical connection to Phoenix or Reeves or that downer of a movie. Also, these Californians and their attempt at irony can suck an egg: http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fxfrxqegldhe~T2

  7. Old Gator - Nov 25, 2009 at 5:04 PM

    Heh, that’s pretty awful. But in California, you’re not expected to listen to music with your natural faculties.
    So how do you feel about Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head? Or are they still an Irish problem?

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