Billy Wagner agrees to deal with Braves

BILLY WAGNER, Aug. 5, 2008 Strained left forearm BILLY WAGNER, Aug. 5, 2008
Strained left forearm
Wagner missed the remainder of the season and was sorely missed down the stretch as the Mets blew an NL East lead in the final 17 games — again. The lefty closer did not make his 2009 debut until Aug. 20.
Games missed: 172
Photo Credit: John Dunn

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ATLANTA — Reliever Billy Wagner and the Atlanta Braves agreed Wednesday to a $7 million, one-year contract.

The six-time All-Star gets $6.75 million in 2010 and the deal includes a $6.5 million club option for 2011 with a $250,000 buyout. The option would become guaranteed is he has 50 games finished next season.

“We feel this is a great start for us to put together a championship-quality team for 2010,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said in a statement. “Billy has been at the top of our list as a player we wanted to acquire for some time, and we’re excited to have him anchoring our bullpen.”

The 38-year-old left-hander missed most of last season following elbow ligament replacement surgery on Sept. 10, 2008. He returned to the New York Mets on Aug. 20, reached 96 mph in his first appearance, then was traded to the Boston Red Sox five days later.

Wagner was 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 13 2-3 innings for the Red Sox. In Game 3 of the playoffs against the Angels, he allowed a hit and a walk in the eighth inning, and both runners scored against Jonathan Papelbon as Los Angeles rallied and completed a three-game sweep.

He is sixth on the career list with 385 saves and second among left-handers behind John Franco (424).

Because Wagner was ranked a Type A free agent and the Red Sox offered salary arbitration on Tuesday, Boston will receive two extra picks in June’s amateur draft as compensation.

Rafael Soriano (27 saves) and Mike Gonzalez (10 saves) both became free agents after the season. The Braves offered the pair arbitration on Tuesday, and they have until Monday to accept.

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