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The Braves have a new closer

Billy Wagner is coming to Atlanta for a reported one-year, $7 million deal with a $6.5 million option in 2011 that vests if he finishes at least 50 games next season.

It’s a low-risk signing, considering the money involved. Yes, Wagner is 38 and fresh off elbow surgery, but he appeared as effective as ever in 17 appearances with the Mets and Red Sox, striking out 26 in 15-2/3 innings. He has a career 2.39 ERA and has averaged well more than a strikeout per inning. Among active pitchers only Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman have more saves.

Frank Wren still has enough money left to fix the offense AND add depth to the ‘pen. Wagner, O’Flaherty, Moylan and Medlen form a solid late-inning nucleus, though the Bravos could use at least one more proven reliever. Free agents Octavio Dotel and LaTroy Hawkins would be ideal supplements.

–CB

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9 Comments on The Braves have a new closer

  1. Very nice. Hope he still has a bit left in the tank…which it looks like he does.

  2. Yeah, this is definitely a good pick-up. One more decent arm in the bull-pen and we can turn our attention to offense this off-season.

  3. Jack Straw // December 2, 2009 at 8:11 am //

    I like it, but don’t think I will ever get used to these salaries. For another arm, we should Think Smoltz.

  4. rankin' rob // December 2, 2009 at 8:31 am //

    Gonzo and Soriano pitched hot and cold, and I think it bumfuzzled Bobby to have to choose when to pitch whom. Wagner seems like a no-nonsense guy, probably a good fit in the clubhouse. And no question about his role–9th inning. Now let’s go get a big bat.

  5. Absolutely love the signing. For the money involved, it’s a no-brainer and you have to think it also deters both Gonzalez and Soriano from accepting arbitration, on the off chance they would even consider doing so. Now we have to go grab a bat and/or a first baseman and I love the way this team is shaping up. Signing someone like Hawkins, Dotel and/or Saito makes a lot of sense now and sets up the pen very nicely.

  6. clete boyer fan // December 2, 2009 at 9:51 am //

    I like it. BMF and Gonzalez could be erratic at times and Wagner, though not as good as he was, should still be more consistent and reliable. I’ve always liked this guy’s makeup. I also like the fact that he didn’t try to create a bidding war. Plus his agent’s name is Bean Stringfellow, a former Braves farmhand. How can you not like a guy named Bean Stringfellow?

  7. Strangely, Dotel is repped by String Beanfellow.

  8. Viva Rufino Linares // December 2, 2009 at 5:05 pm //

    I thought that Wagner would be our set up man because of his role in Boston. I was concerned that he wouldn’t fit the bill, but his stats are respectible. I believe that he wore out his welcome in the Mets lockerroom, so that makes him a solid club house presence.

  9. PepeFreeUs // December 2, 2009 at 5:27 pm //

    I’ve been a fan of Billy’s for a long, long time. He’s from just down the road here and I’ve always thought he’d be a great fit in Atlanta.

    Welcome aboard, Hoss.

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