Tag:Billy Wagner
Posted on: August 28, 2010 7:41 pm
Edited on: August 28, 2010 8:08 pm

Billy Wagner is not a sentimental guy

Billy Wagner
Intensity and focus are big reasons Billy Wagner became a record-setter on Friday night. And because of those same traits, Wagner was in no mood to celebrate the record.

The Braves' closer set a record for career strikeouts by a left-handed reliever, striking out the Marlins' Mike Stanton for No. 1,170. Umpire Tim McClellan stopped the game and catcher David Ross motioned to Wagner to throw the ball back so they could take it out of play as a souvenir.

Wagner, who was pitching in the ninth inning of a 7-1 loss just because he needed work, waved Ross off and refused to toss the ball. Not only that, when he fielded that same ball two batters later on a foul down the line, he tossed it into the stands.

"I said ‘We're getting our [butts] kicked, it's raining, let's go," Wagner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It's stupid. Who in their right mind makes a big deal out of doing something they're supposed to do in the first place? I’m out there pitching in a [bad] game; we're getting our butt kicked. It’s not worth it to make a big deal out of that. That’s embarrassing."

Without telling Wagner, members of the Braves' clubhouse crew got the ball back from a fan to give to him.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 21, 2010 6:23 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2010 6:24 pm

Wagner says he's done, period

Billy Wagner Billy Wagner wants everyone to give the retirement talk a rest. Yes, Wagner is having an incredible season. No, he hasn't changed his mind about retiring.

“Until I don’t show up next year, nobody’s going to believe me," Wagner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "Brett Favre’s f----ed it up for everybody."

Maybe Favre's had something to do with people not believing Wagner will retire, but most of the disbelief stems from the dominant season Wagner is putting together. He has a 1.68 ERA in 53 2/3 innings, whiffing 77 and walking just 15. With 30 saves, he's been one of the best closers in the game. How can someone simply walk away when there's so much more that could be accomplished? If Wagner stuck around for another year, he could bring in millions more and crack the 450-save barrier.

He's not interested.

"Me and my family have made plans for retirement," he said. “I don’t need it anymore. I’m tired of the expectations, tired of the criticism, tired of people who never played trying to tell me how to play.

"And I enjoy my family, unlike [some others]. So I want to be there for them. I want to get to see them play ball, and be a dad."

Wagner has children in both travel basketball leagues and Little League baseball, plus a daughter who dances. He wants to be around and see his kids grow up. Can't blame him there.

But that's not the only reason Wagner's walking away from the game.

“I know I could pitch another year or two,” Wagner said. “But I’m at the point where all the ice packs that it takes to get me on the field every day is not worth it any more.”

Can you imagine being aching and in pain every day, having to stack your body with ice packs just to prepare for an inning in which he probably won't crack 20 pitches?

That hasn't stopped retiring manager Bobby Cox from checking into Wagner's plans.

“Bobby’s asked me a couple of times, ‘Are you sure?’ Wagner relayed. He then quipped, “I said, well if you don’t retire, I won’t retire.”

There you go, Bobby. At least if the Hall-of-Fame manager  changes his mind and comes back for another year, he knows who his closer will be.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 1, 2010 10:28 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm

Trade market still open

Adam Dunn Everyone refers to the last day of July as the "trade deadline" even if it's not exactly accurate. It's officially the "non-waiver trade deadline" and that first part may not roll off the tongue, but it's important. It's the reason why one of the most speculated-about players at the deadline, Adam Dunn, told me July 31 "doesn't mean [anything]" to him.

Dunn should know, in the last year of a two-year deal, Dunn's movement will be speculated upon throughout the next month. He also knows from experience, two years ago the Reds traded him to Arizona after the non-waiver trade deadline.

Waivers are certainly a complication, but deals still get done until the end of the month, when a player has to be on the roster to be eligible for the postseason. So how does it work?

First, most teams put most -- if not all -- their players through the waiver process since you don't have to give up a player who is claimed, you can just pull him off waivers.

Unclaimed players can be traded to any team. Claimed players can be kept, traded or just handed over to the claiming team for nothing but salary relief. That's what happened last year when the Blue Jays put him on waivers, the White Sox claimed him and Toronto was happy to shed his remaining five years for $59.7 million on his contract. So, if some team wanted to claim Carlos Zambrano or Kosuke Fukudome or Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs would likely dance for joy. But that's unlikely to happen (even though I would have said the same thing a year ago about Rios).

Now, if just one team claims a player, he can be dealt only to that team. If more than one team claims a player, he can be traded to the team with the worst record in his league that claims him. If no team in the same league claims the player, but more than one team in the other league claims him, he can be traded to the team with the worst record.

So now with the process out of the way, it's good to keep in mind that this isn't an unusual process. Last season Scott Kazmir, Jim Thome, Carl Pavano, Alex Gonzalez, Brad Penny, Aubrey Huff, Billy Wagner, Jon Garland and Ivan Rodriguez. So who could that be this year?

Obviously, Dunn is still out there. He realizes the real trade deadline is at the end of this month, not the beginning. If the Nationals can't agree to an extension, the Nationals need to get something for Dunn. Based on many of the rumors that were out there, it was hardly surprising he wasn't dealt. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was asking for the moon and nobody was willing to spend the money to get there. White Sox GM Kenny Williams hasn't exactly hidden his desire for Dunn, and a little thing like waivers won't stop him. However, he'll have to hope nearly the rest of the teams pass on the big man, and that's not likely.

The biggest name that could move would be Manny Ramirez. The Dodgers don't know what they're going to get out of him and could shed roughly $7 million. As CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller notes , Ramirez has a full no-trade clause, but would likely waive that to go to the American League and DH. If the White Sox can't get Dunn, Ramirez may be a solid backup option -- albeit a bit expensive.

Andy LaRoche Diamondbacks first baseman Adam LaRoche has a mutual option for 2011 that increases to $9.5 million if he's traded, though the buyout remains at $1.5 million. Kelly Johnson may not get through waivers, but could still be traded. He's arbitration eligible after the season.

The Royals would certainly love for another team to take Jose Guillen and what's left of the $12 million salary for this season. Guillen is a free agent after the season.

Mike Lowell is still -- sorta -- with the Red Sox, but would likely sail through waivers because he's owed the remainder of his $12 million salary this season and nobody's quite sure what they'll get out of him.

The reliever market didn't see much action on Saturday, but Toronto's Kevin Gregg, Seattle's David Aardsma and Colorado's Joe Beimel could be moved before the end of this month.

As for starters, Colorado's Aaron Cook is signed for $9.25 million next season with a mutual option of $11 million in 2012 and a $0.5 million buyout. His annual salary increases by $1 million for each season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 11, 2010 8:07 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2010 8:51 pm

Should one of seven players be an All-Star?

Omar Infante When the smoke finally cleared on all the injuries, dropouts and replacements, a total of 82 players will go into the books as 2010 All-Stars -- and that's assuming nothing happens in the next couple of days.

Heck, Braves closer Billy Wagner, who is retiring after this season, will be credited with his seventh All-Star berth just for taking a phone call from Charlie Manuel and saying, "Thanks but no thanks, my ankle is kind of sore."

There are, at any given time, 750 players on active major-league rosters. So 82 represents 11 percent. Let's say, conservatively, that each team has a backup catcher, two end-of-the-bench utility/pinch-hit guys and three long relievers -- spots that are irrelevant to the All-Star conversation. That gets us down to 570 let's call it "All-Star-eligible" major-league spots. You figure 82 of 570 is 14 percent.

What does it mean for the All-Star Game that one out of every seven players is an All-Star? Does it diminish the accomplishment?

The answer is yes. It would be impossible for it not to. "Four-time All-Star" will not mean the same thing, will not denote the same level of career achievement, 10 years from now that it did 10 years ago.

And yet, since commissioner Bud Selig decreed that "this time it counts" after the 2002 tie debacle, this is basically the way it has to be. All-Star managers must be given the number and variety of players they need to do everything possible to win the game.

That means Manuel has to select a guy like Braves utility man Omar Infante, giving himself the maximum number of options. It means Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo makes the team because of his extreme effectiveness against left-handers.

Yes, it's ridiculous to think each team needs a 34-man roster to play one baseball game. But it looks like there's no going back now.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 8, 2010 9:58 am
Edited on: July 8, 2010 10:03 am

Final Vote coming down to final hours

Kevin Youkilis Oh, the suspense!

In another Yankee-Red Sox battle we're being hit over the head with, Nick Swisher holds "the slimmest of leads" over Kevin Youkilis in the American League Final Vote for the All-Star Game, despite nobody making a convincing case for Swisher other than his uniform, based on the latest results released by MLB.com.

In what can only be a desperate attempt by Major League Baseball's website to generate page views (since all voting takes place on the site), MLB.com has seen fit to release a breathless update to the (unlimited) voting that ends today at 4 p.m.

The winner of the final spots will be announced on MLB Network (yay synergy!) at 6 p.m.

Joey Votto still leads the National League voting (funny what leading the league in homers and OPS will do for you), but, the site warns -- without giving any numbers -- Carlos Gonzalez has passed Billy Wagner for third place in the voting. Ryan Zimmerman is still in second. Heath Bell was removed from the ballot when he was placed on the team as a replacement for Yovani Gallardo.

In the American League, it's all Yankees-Red Sox all the time. The release says it's a "virtual tie" between Youkilis (.292/.409/.574 with 17 home runs, 55 RBI) and Swisher (.298/.376/.518 14 HR, 48 RBI, one appearance on "How I Met Your Mother " --  CBS can play the synergy game too!), but not a real tie, because that would mean they're tied, as opposed to a "virtual tie" which goes back to the ol' tie goes to the Yankee rule.

Paul Konerko is in third place in the AL voting, followed by Michael Young and Delmon Young.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 6, 2010 3:33 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 3:37 pm

Youkilis takes lead in 'Final Vote'

Kevin Youkils Apparently we're getting official releases on the All-Star Game Final Vote daily now, and even though it's getting kind of boring, the results are there. And it appears the '75 Series team-up of the Red Sox and Reds is working, as Kevin Youkilis and Joey Votto are the leading vote-getters.

Monday, the teams announced a partnership, asking fans to vote for both players. Youkilis is a Cincinnati native and played at the University of Cincinnati, while Votto has been the cause celebre since Charlie Manuel announced the team.

Both are deserving of the nods, so it's nice to see the fans getting it right again -- although they could still screw it up in the next 48 hours.

Youkilis overtook the Yankees' Nick Swisher in the last 24 hours, while Michael Young, Paul Konerko and Delmon Young trailed. Youkilis is third in the American League in OPS (1.002) and tied for seventh in homers with 17. Konerko is seventh in OPS (.948) and tied for second in home runs with 20.

Votto overtook the National League lead in home runs with two Monday night against the Mets. He now has 21, tied with Toronto's Jose Bautista for the majors' lead. Votto also leads the NL in on-base percentage (.418), slugging (.599) and, naturally, OPS (1.017).

Although vote totals are not released, Votto leads Ryan Zimmerman, Billy Wagner, Carlos Gonzalez and Heath Bell.

At least one of those nominees isn't happy with the attention Votto's gotten for his snub.

"I won't win the final vote," Wagner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "I'm not a fan favorite. ESPN is running promos for Joey Votto, what's that tell you."

Yep, we all know, that great midwest bias -- every time you turn on the TV, it's Cincinnati, Kansas City and Cleveland (well, it is Cleveland, but it has nothing to do with Shin-Soo Choo).

Wagner has 17 saves and has a 1.35 ERA and a .165 opponents' batting average, as well as the sentimental card, as he's announced he's retiring at the end of this season.

As for the Reds-Red Sox partnership, the Reds will wear "Vote Red" and "Vote Votto-Youkilis" shirts for batting practice Wednesday at Citi Field, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon . The Reds equipment manager, Rick Stowe, has written "Vote Red" and "Vote Votto" on batting practice balls to remind fans to vote, as well. The Toronto Sun has also joined in the efforts, publishing a "Vote for Votto" campaign page for the Toronto native.

In addition to the Reds stumping for Youkilis, John Kerry is campaigning for the Red Sox first baseman, sending out an email asking his supporters to participate in the vote .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 5, 2010 4:56 pm

Votto, Swisher leading Final Vote

Joey Votto Perhaps the fans have a better handle on who should be on the National League All-Star roster than Charlie Manuel.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto is leading National League portion of the All-Star Final Vote after 24 hours, Major League Baseball announced in a release on Monday. The Yankees' Nick Swisher leads the American League voting.

More than 10 million votes came in the first 24 hours, with Swisher leading Boston's Kevin Youkilis slightly, followed by Michael Young, Paul Konerko and Delmon Young.

In the National League, it's Votto, followed by Ryan Zimmerman, Billy Wagner, Carlos Gonzalez and Heath Bell.

Votto was the most obvious All-Star snub, in part because Manuel took his own player, Ryan Howard, over the more deserving Votto. The fans selected Albert Pujols at first and Adrian Gonzalez was another deserving selection at first.

But Howard, who is having a great season, was picked by Manuel over Votto, who is having a great season.

Votto leads the league in OPS (.984), is third in on-base percentage (.412), fifth in batting average (.312), third in slugging (.572), fourth in runs (53), tied for second in home runs (19), fifth in RBI (57) and fifth in walks (46).

Howard's only in the top 10 in one of those categories, runs (53), and even that trails Votto. And it's not as if it's Howard's glove that got him to Anaheim.

In the American League, Youkilis is clearly more deserving than his Yankee brethren. Youkilis is fourth in OPS (1.000), third in OBP (.416), first in runs (65), seventh in home runs (17) and second in walks (50). Swisher is not in the top 10 in any important category other than pinstripes.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

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