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Phillies tried to talk Billy Wagner out of retirement

Nov 28, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT

billy-wagner-braves Reuters

Billy Wagner retired after the 2010 season despite coming off one of his best years, saving 37 games with a 1.43 ERA in 69 innings for the Braves, and Mark Hale of the New York Post reports that the Phillies recently tried to talk the now 40-year-old left-hander out of retirement.

Wagner declined, telling them: “I do not have an itch. I’m done. I’ve got a major role on a JV baseball team. I’m JV baseball coach.”

According to Hale the contact with Wagner came shortly after the regular season and well before the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million deal.

It’s unclear if the Phillies viewed Wagner as a closer or as a setup man, but the best left-handed reliever of all time hinted that several other teams also reached out to him during the season. His agent had been instructed to turn down all offers.

Wagner pitched for the Phillies in 2004 and 2005, throwing 126 innings with a 1.86 ERA and 59 saves.

  1. Detroit Michael - Nov 28, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    “I’m JV baseball coach.” In other words, Wagner is overqualified to be the manager of the Chicago White Sox.

  2. Francisco (FC) - Nov 28, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    I thought bringing aging Veterans to the fold was Sabean’s area of expertise… Though admittedly Wagner retired in fine form. ERA+ of 275 in your retirement year? Wowza!

  3. cur68 - Nov 28, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    Happy retirement, Billy Wagner. Way to go out on top.

  4. philliesphan - Nov 28, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    Wagner tends to leave organizations on bad terms, but I at least give him credit for being the one player who retired and actually meant it.

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 28, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    “Come on, Billy!”
    “No.”
    “Come onnnn!! If you don’t come back, we’re going to have to sign Papelbon for trillions of dollars because that’s the only other idea we have.”
    “No.”
    “Please!?!?!?!?!?”
    “No. Goodbye.”

  6. scafeets - Nov 28, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Hey, Nick:
    ROBERT Wagner is still available…..

  7. mox19380 - Nov 28, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Pretty shocked the Phillies would even contact him considering how his time with Philly ended in him bashing not only the fans but the way the organization was run. I suppose that was before RAJ’s term as GM but nonetheless this is rather surprising to me

    • xmatt0926x - Nov 28, 2011 at 5:29 PM

      Agree. People only remember the Atlants lovefest, but the fact is that he burned bridges by being a clubhouse politician at every other stop. He always left on bad terms with management and teammates. People like honesty but he seemed to be one of those guys always looking to bitch about something.

      • sasquash20 - Nov 28, 2011 at 6:23 PM

        Right on man. This guy is a total dueche bag. I had a run in with him a few years ago and he is exactly what is wrong with athletes today. Total cancer, thank god the Phillies didn’t bring him back! I would rather have Jose Mesa back then this POS!

      • cleverbob - Nov 29, 2011 at 10:34 AM

        Jose Mesa? Let’s not go crazy now…

  8. foreverchipper10 - Nov 28, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Real glad I got to see him pitch in the one and so far only game I have attended in Turner Field.

  9. schmedley69 - Nov 29, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    I’ve been a Phillies fan for 32 years, and Billy Wagner is by far my least favorite Phillie of all time. I’m surprised that they asked him to come back, and I’m glad that he declined.

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