The Atlanta Braves have made another poor signing. Billy Wagner agreed to a 1-year deal worth $7 million dollars to factor into Atlanta’s closer role in 2010. Doesn’t it seem like Atlanta’s closer has been a revolving door for the past couple of seasons to begin with? That’s because it really has.
The Braves agreed to terms with Wagner late Wednesday only hours after they offered arbitration to free agents Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, who split the team’s closer duties in 2008 and combined for 37 saves and 192 strikeouts in 150 innings.
We’re no front office executives, but who besides Wagner himself, his agent, and a few family members think he has anything left. Sure he had a 1.72 ERA down the stretch last season in 15+ innings. Not too shabby. But how much is this guy going to give you? Is he going to be able to provide the $7 million in value to the Braves next season that they’ll write out to him? Is he going to put butts in the emptying seats at Turner Field? We’ll bet the answer to both of those questions is a resounding ‘no’.
This is one of those cases where we’re lucky our team isn’t a large market team, spending just to spend. Wagner provides no rise in value in our opinion over Gonzalez or Soriano, not at his age of 38. This isn’t your father’s Billy Wagner.
Rob Neyer offers his thoughts on what Wagner brings to the Braves.