Tag:Billy Wagner
Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:03 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 3:23 pm
 

Years 2014-16 will crowd Hall of Fame ballot



By Matt Snyder


With the 2012 Hall of Fame class set to be Barry Larkin and Ron Santo, we can now look ahead to future years -- while kicking and screaming about who should have gotten in or who didn't deserve it, of course; heaven forbid anyone just celebrate the careers of Larkin and Santo and move on. My colleague C. Trent Rosecrans has taken a look at the explosive 2013 Hall of Fame class of first-year eligibles. Just envision all the arguing and name-calling that will take place in our comments section next year at this time (remember, everyone's personal opinion is right and everyone else is an idiot with absolutely no room for discussion!). I have a headache already.

Anyway, the ballot doesn't let up anytime soon, either. Check out the first-year eligible classes for the ensuing three ballots. And remember, these guys are only joining those remaining on the ballot. It's going to get overly crowded with legitimate superstars unless a few classes have upwards of four or five inductees.

Here are the most notable guys joining the ballot before 2017, divided up by year.

2014

Greg Maddux - Listing his numbers is a waste of time. He's as much of a lock as anyone.

Frank Thomas - It's also hard to see the Big Hurt not getting in on the first try as well. He has more than 500 home runs, two MVPs, and a ridiculous .974 career OPS (156 OPS-plus).

Hall of Fame coverage
Tom Glavine - Are 300 wins good for automatic induction? I think so. The two Cy Youngs and six top three finishes in Cy voting also help to make him a lock.

Jeff Kent - While not a very good defender, Kent was one of the best offensive second basemen in history. His 377 home runs are the most ever for a 2B while his .290/.356/.500 line is stellar from that position. Kent's WAR is very similar to Ryne Sandberg's, and Ryno got in on his third try. It might be tougher for Kent, with the crowded ballots and all. Think about it, are the voters really going to put in four first-year guys here? Very doubtful, especially considering there will be worthy guys lingering from previous ballots.

Mike Mussina - Moose went 270-153 in his career with an assortment of Gold Gloves, All-Star appearances and top six finishes in Cy Young voting. His 3.68 career ERA came in a time when it was a hitters' game, as it factors out to a 123 ERA-plus. Will his shortfall in wins (30 shy of 300) and strikeouts (187 short of 3,000) cost him? It very well might.

Luis Gonzalez - He was just a pretty good player until getting to Arizona, so he probably didn't do it long enough.

Moises Alou - He actually has better rate stats than Gonzalez, but the feeling is neither makes it.

2015

Randy Johnson - The only question is Mariners or Diamondbacks cap on his bust. I'll lean toward D-Backs with the four Cy Youngs and World Series ring, but he pitched 1 1/2 more seasons in Seattle. But this is a discussion for a different day.

Pedro Martinez - He was the most dominant pitcher in baseball for a seven-year stretch. He won three Cy Young awards and had the best MLB ERA in five of those aforementioned seven seasons. In all, Pedro was 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and over 3,000 strikeouts in a big-time hitters' era. He has to be in, probably on the first ballot.

John Smoltz - How heavily will the 213 wins and 154 saves weigh on the minds of voters? I'm guessing a good amount. He also has that Cy Young and over 3,000 strikeouts. Even if not on the first ballot, Smoltz will be enshrined.

Gary Sheffield - One of the more feared hitters of his generation, Sheffield's offensive numbers say he's worthy (509 homers, .907 career OPS, over 1,600 runs and RBI). But he was in the Mitchell Report, so -- judging from what we've seen so far from the voters in terms of the steroid-connected guys -- he's probably not going to get in.

Nomar Garciaparra - Through 2003, he was headed to Cooperstown, but things derailed after that. His career triple slash line (.313/.361/.521) is pretty damn good, but was he dominant long enough? I'll guess no.

Carlos Delgado - With tons of power in his prime, Delgado ended up with 473 homers and 1,512 RBI. His .383 on-base percentage and .929 OPS (138 OPS-plus) are very impressive, too. My guess, though, is Delgado put up those numbers in the wrong era and he falls short.

2016

Ken Griffey Jr. - Easy choice.

Trevor Hoffman - The Hall voters haven't been kind to closers, but Hoffman saved 601 games, obliterating the previous record (held by Lee Smith) until Mariano Rivera passed him last season. I bet Hoffman gets in with relative ease. If not the first try, certainly the second or third.

Billy Wagner - See the above comment about Hall voters' treatment of closers. Wagner was definitely dominant, but I feel like only Rivera and Hoffman get in from this generation of closers.

Andy Pettitte - If you only look at the regular season stats, Pettitte has a case as a very good pitcher who wasn't a Hall of Famer. He went 240-138 with a 3.88 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 2,251 strikeouts. He garnered Cy Young votes in five different seasons but never won the award. However, will 75 percent of the voters consider the postseason and cast a vote for Pettitte? It's possible. He was 19-10 with a 3.83 ERA in the postseason, in a whopping 263 innings. He has five rings and went to the World Series three other times (once with the Astros, remember). He will not be getting into the Hall on his first handful of tries, but maybe after a decade or so on the ballot Pettitte makes it. Then again, he also was named in the Mitchell Report.

Jim Edmonds - The four-time All-Star won eight Gold Gloves and hit 393 homers. He hit .284/.376/.527 and racked up 67.9 WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com. Still, with less than 2,000 hits, less than 400 home runs and less than 1,300 runs or RBI, I'd bet he doesn't have a real shot of making it.



So there you have it. Without considering the guys who were already on the ballot from previous years and then factoring in the huge class of 2013, we have three years with what I think will yield nine Hall of Famers. Maybe 10 if Pettitte gets enough support. Now, keep in mind I'm not a voter nor was I saying above who I would personally want to see in the Hall. I'm merely trying to guess how the voting body will react to the players above, based upon how they've treated players in the recent past.

Simply put, the ballot is going to be very, very crowded in a few years.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 11:39 am
 

Phillies tried to lure Wagner out of retirement



By Matt Snyder

The Phillies really wanted an "established" closer. They wanted one so badly that they called Billy Wagner after the 2011 regular season ended.

“It was after the regular season ... just to see if I was even contemplating coming back or had an itch or anything,” Wagner said (New York Post). “I just told them, ‘No, I do not have an itch.'"

This came well before the Phillies eventually signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million contract.

Wagner, 40, retired after a sparkling 2010 season -- one in which he made his seventh All-Star team. Wagner served as closer for the Astros, Mets, Phillies and Braves while also setting up for Papelbon in Boston for a half season. With 422 career saves, he's fifth on the all-time list behind Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Lee Smith and John Franco.

Wagner told the Post he's currently very happy serving simply as a JV baseball coach.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: February 13, 2011 2:37 pm
 

Wagner is happy in retirement

Billy Wagner Billy Wagner is still retired. Really, really retired. Really.

Even though he's still on the Braves' 40-man roster, don't expect him to return.

"I'm totally content with not playing baseball," Wagner told reporters Saturday night before Virginia Tech's baseball banquet, according to Nathan Warters of the Lynchburg, Va., News & Advance . "I love watching it, I love talking about it. If I miss anything, it would be some of the guys I played with and actually competing on the field, but other than that, you can keep it."

Wagner announced his intention to retire after the 2010 season last May, and even after saving 37 games with a 1.43 ERA in 71 games for the Braves last season, he never wavered.

In his retirement, he's spent his time coaching his sons' baseball and basketball teams.

"I told my wife the other day that it hasn't even dawned on me that I should be doing something, which is kind of unusual for me," Wagner said. "But I think it's kind of a load off my mind knowing that I don't have to prepare. I've just really enjoyed it."

Braves pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, without Wagner, but with youngsters Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters pitching the ninth inning for the Braves.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: December 30, 2010 11:39 am
 

Kimbrel could close for Braves in 2011

Craig Kimbrel The Braves will be looking internally for a closer to replace the retired Billy Wagner and 22-year old Craig Kimbrel tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he's ready to compete for the gig.

"There was never really a point last year where I didn't think I could do it," Kimbrel told the AJC 's Carroll Rogers. "I can't go on the mound and think 'I can't do it,' because then I'll be in a losing situation."

Kimbrel allowed just one earned run in 20 2/3 innings last season, striking out 40 batters and walking 16. He appeared in four postseason games, and allowed one hit and one earned run in 4 1/3 innings, while striking out seven. He pitches in the high-90s and has a nasty slider.

Braves manager Bobby Cox called him out to close Game 3 -- I was sitting in a press box dining room with a Braves scout who said he thought Kimbrel was the guy to close for the Braves in the future -- but the veteran manager didn't quite show that confidence in the rookie, who ultimately was charged with the loss.

WIth a 2-1 lead in the ninth, Kimbrel got Cody Ross to pop up to second baseman Brooks Conrad before pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa worked a walk. Kimbrel then struck out Andres Torres before Freddy Sanchez's grounder up the middle. WIth two on, Cox took out Kimbrel, bringing in lefty Michael Dunn to face Aubrey Huff, who singled in a run. Peter Moylan then came in to replace Dunn and Buster Posey hit it between the legs of Conrad, scoring Sanchez, for the second run charged to Kimbrel in the inning (unearned) and gave the Giants the lead.

Kimbrel says he's ready to compete in spring training and will be happy no matter his role -- just so he's in the big leagues.

"I'm looking at it like it doesn't matter what role I have, if I'm in the big leagues, I'm happy," Kimbrel said. "But if I just go out there and focus more on pitching well, good things will happen."

Left-hander Jonny Venters could also close. Venters was 4-4 with a save and a 1.95 ERA in 83 innings. He struck out 93 and walked 39, finishing eighth in Rookie of the Year voting. Like Kimbrel, he pitched in all four of the team's NLDS games, allowing seven hits but no runs in 5 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking none.

The Braves signed Scott Linebrink, who has seven saves in his 11 seasons in the big leagues, but has been a set-up man in the past and isn't coming off his best season in 2010, where he was 3-2 with a  4.40 ERA for the White Sox. Veteran lefty George Sherrill had 52 saves in 2008 and 2009, mostly as the closer for the Orioles, but is also coming off a bad year, with a 6.69 ERA in 36 1/3 innings for the Dodgers. He posted his worst strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.04) of his career, walking 24 batters and striking out 25.

There is, of course, still Rafael Soriano out there. The Braves' 2009 closer is coming off a season with 45 saves for the Tampa Bay Rays, but is likely out of Atlanta's budget. A cheaper free-agent option could be former Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb   on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 5:01 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 5:43 pm
 

Braves pick up options on Gonzalez, Infante

Alex Gonzalez The Braves have agreed to a one-year deal with right-hander Scott Proctor and exercised their options on shortstop Alex Gonzalez and infielder Omar Infante, the team announced.

Both options for Infante and Gonzalez (pictured) are worth $2.5 million.

Proctor was arbitration-eligible.

The Braves declined their options on Kyle Farnsworth (a $5.25 million option with a $250,000 buyout) and Rick Ankiel ($6 million with a $500,000 buyout).

The team also has an option on closer Billy Wagner, who has repeatedly said he's going to retire. When asked Tuesday morning by MLB.com's Mark Bowman if he'd changed his plans, Wagner "emphatically" said, "No."

UPDATE: The Braves are interested in keeping free agent Eric Hinske around, David O'Brien of the Altanta Journal-Constitution writes.

"There still can be a role on the club for him, even though he’s left-handed," GM Frank Wren told O'Brien. "There are still areas where we can use him. We think he was a valuable part of the team last year and we still have interest in him."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



Posted on: October 10, 2010 1:44 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2010 1:47 pm
 

Braves will deactivate Wagner

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports via Twitter that the Braves will remove closer Billy Wagner from their playoff roster pending approval from Major League roster, due to an oblique injury he suffered in the last game. He would be replaced on the roster by Takashi Saito.

The MLB approval is simply a formality -- obviously Wagner is hurt, and his loss doesn't exactly give the Braves an advantage. Wagner will not be allowed to return to the roster for the NLCS, but could be activated for the World Series if the Braves make it that far and he's healthy. Otherwise it looks like the end of Wagner's career, as he has steadfastly insisted he will retire after this season.

--David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 9, 2010 8:30 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:10 am
 

Braves lose Wagner; X-rays negative for Giants

Freddy Sanchez Even though the Braves won Friday night's Game 2 of the NLDS with the Giants, the Giants had better news after the game.

X-rays on both Freddy Sanchez's hand and Buster Posey's ribs were negative, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports . However, Sanchez (pictured) tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that he's unsure if he'll be able to play in Game 3 Sunday after being hit on the right middle finger by Kyle Farnsworth.

As for the Braves, they'll be without closer Billy Wagner for the rest of this series with a strained left oblique muscle. The team will either activate Takashi Saito or starter Jair Jurrjens before Game 3 at Turner Field. The Braves can replace Wagner during the series, but if they do so, Wagner is ineligible for the next series.

Wagner was hurt trying to avoid a collision with third baseman Troy Glaus on Edgar Renteria's 10th-inning bunt down the line. Wagner faced the next batter, Andres Torres, and fielded his sacrifice bunt, but left the game after that.

"I went to field Renteria's bunt, and when I tried to get out of Troy's way, that's when I felt a tweak," Wagner told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "I tried to make a pitch, just get out there and finish the inning. After I made the pitch [to Torres] and tried to go toward the plate, I couldn't move.

"Thank God he bunted it hard enough to get it back to me, or I couldn't have made a play at all."

It may be the last pitch of Wagner's career. He has not wavered all season in his plans to retire after this season ends.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Posted on: October 3, 2010 7:09 pm
 

Wagner happy not be the goat

Billy Wagner Bobby Cox wasn't the only Brave thinking he might be seeing his last game on Sunday -- closer Billy Wagner came into the game with two outs in the eighth, giving up back-to-back RBI hits as the Phillies closed their lead to within a run, 8-7.

However, he struck out the side in the ninth and the Braves got the victory -- and extended the careers of Cox and Wagner.

"Don't think that didn't run through my head out there," Wagner told reporters, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution 's Carroll Rogers . "You screw this up and go home and always be a goat. I was happy to go out there and compete and make some pitches and have another day to go out there and sweat."

Wagner threw 21 pitches in the eighth before striking out Raul Ibanez to end it. Cox said he had no thoughts about replacing Wagner for the ninth.

"You would have been getting a new manager," Cox said. "I would have been dead if I told him he wasn't going back out there."

Wagner, 39, picked up his 37th save of the season and 422nd of his career.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com