A day after the surgically-repaired Billy Wagner showcased some legitimate mid-90s heat, he was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Boston now has until Tuesday at 1pm ET to work out a deal for the 38-year-old southpaw.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that if the Mets want a prospect in return for Wagner, they will likely have to pick up at least some of the $3.5 million on his contract.
This number includes a $1 million buyout for next season. But Rosenthal
cites a source with knowledge of the club’s thinking that the Mets
would be reluctant to include money in a possible deal. Either way,
both sides should be pretty motivated to get a deal done by the Monday
But this is where it gets at least somewhat juicy. According to a “tweet” by Joel Sherman of the New York Post,
an AL executive speculated that the Red Sox may have claimed Wagner
over worries that Jonathan Papelbon’s mechanics and control are off.
Sherman made sure to note this was pure speculation on the executive’s
part, but concerns about Papelbon have some real merit, as the Boston
stopper has a career-worst 1.31 WHIP (remember, it was 0.77 in 2007)
and 3.98 BB/9 (previous high was 2.31 in 2007). He’s also relying on
his fastball less than ever before, and getting mixed results. Whether this is an organizational concern or not, Wagner is an insurance policy the Red Sox can easily absorb.