Thursday, August 04, 2005

Billy Ball

Lost in the coverage of Terrell Owens and the Flyers acquisition of Peter Forsberg is Billy Wagner and his contract negotiations. Wagner set the ground rules yesterday, telling the Phillies they have until the end of the month to get a deal done.

He said the Phillies' first offer was not acceptable.

"It's pretty far apart. Not to get into numbers or anything like that, but there's a lot of movement that needs to be made," Wagner said Wednesday.

The only move that needed to be made was trade Wagner last week. The Phillies blew that one. He was one player that could have brought some new talent to the roster. Sure, my hindsight is 20-20, but it is obvious that Wagner is not all that excited about returning to Philadelphia.

On more than one occasion this season, he has questioned the heart of his teammates. That was a big hint that he was not happy. Even though he has said he would like to be back, general manager Ed Wade needed to read between the lines.

Ugueth Urbina has pitched well and could fill the closer spot for the rest of year, making Wagner, a hot commodity, expendable.

It won't happen now. Wagner would never clear waivers. Now it is left to Wade to get the deal done so the Phillies don't lose one of the premier players in the game for absolutely nothing.

Wagner has made it clear that if he finishes the season without a new contract, he will test the free-agent market.

"I think (Wade) understands that if I play this whole season out, I'm not going to sit there and turn free agency down. That would be stupid on by part."

And it would be stupid if Wade does not listen and get this deal done.

Sooner the better.

3 Comments:

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

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At 1:42 PM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

I would have made teams beg for the services of the best closer in the National League. Two prospects and a proven pitcher is what I would have asked for Wagner. His value is with a team like the Red Sox, not the Phils.

No starter, aside from Jason Schmidt or A.J. Burnett, would make a significant enough impact for a playoff push ... and I have doubts about those guys.

It’s hard to justify why the Phils wouldn’t trade Wagner for prospects when they know they can’t win with the current starting five. As soon as Burnett and Schmidt fell off the board, Wagner needed to go on the block.

The number one priority for this organization wasn’t starting pitching anyway, not if youth was going to be sacrificed to rent it. The broader need is to get younger and start taking the farm system seriously.

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger Jim Jenks said...

I'm with you Jason.

 

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