Wagner changes mind, agrees to join Red Sox

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Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post reports that Billy Wagner changed his mind “after heavy lobbying by the Mets” and has agreed to accept a trade to the Red Sox.
As part of the deal the Mets will receive two players to be named later and the Red Sox have agreed to decline the $8 million option on Wagner for 2010 while retaining their right to offer him arbitration. By offering him arbitration Boston would be in line for draft pick compensation should Wagner leave as a free agent.
Wagner has made just two appearances since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery and likely won’t be available to work back-to-back games, but has definitely looked capable of making an impact down the stretch and perhaps into October. Assuming that the PTBNLs aren’t significant prospects the Red Sox basically spent a few million bucks to add a potential shutdown left-hander for what will probably be at most a dozen innings. Few teams can afford that luxury, but Boston is obviously one of them.
For the Mets, parting with Wagner is a no-brainer and getting a pair of even marginal prospects in return is just a bonus. Neither side had much interest in Wagner remaining in New York next season and there was no sense in paying millions to watch him pitch for a sub-.500 team down the stretch. There was a strong argument to be made for general manager Omar Minaya simply letting the Red Sox have Wagner when they claimed him off waivers, so he absolutely deserves credit for coaxing some added value out of the situation.

Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph: “We suck”

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As I mentioned in the recaps this morning, Baltimore lost its 107th game last night, tying its 1988 mark for the most losses in Orioles history. They will certainly break that record and will almost certainly blast by the all-time franchise loss record of 111, set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns. That team only played a 154-game schedule so the O’s likely won’t be the worst team in the franchise’s 118-season history by winning percentage, but it’ll be close enough.

Over at The Athletic Dan Connolly reports that one Oriole, catcher Caleb Joseph, is well aware of how bad the Orioles are and he is not mincing words about it:

“I’m not a loser. So, to be associated with that severity of losing is embarrassing. It’s shameful really . . . I don’t blame [fans] at all [for not attending games]. We suck.”

That last bit was in response to Matt Olson of the Athletics coming up to him before a recent game, noticing how many empty seats there were in Camden Yards and asking Joseph if it was always like that. Let that sink in: a player for the Oakland Athletics who, year after year, have some of the worst attendance in baseball, is shocked at how poorly Baltimore is drawing.

As for Joseph, he spends a lot of time talking about how the attitude is all wrong with the Orioles, how there does not seem to be any accountability and how things weren’t like that when he came up back when the Orioles were winning. Which, well, yeah.

Baseball players often attribute winning and losing to whatever attitude is prevailing around the clubhouse. Maybe that’s true on greatly underachieving teams or borderline teams that aren’t catching the breaks, but it seems far more likely that winning makes teams happy and instills camaraderie while losing makes teams sad and makes people look inward. Players tend to get the causation wrong about all of that because, I suspect, they don’t want to admit that they’re not as talented as the competition so it has to come down to some motivational or mental defect. Which, if that makes a player feel better, fine, but these O’s weren’t going to win many games even if they came in with smiles on their faces while singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” out of their rear ends every day. They just aren’t good.

Whatever you think of all of that, one thing is clear: the O’s need to clean house in a major, major way.