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Bosox to make Wagner offer?

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Billy Wagner (AP)

Nov 21, 2005



November 28, 2005

Baseball officials worked through the holiday weekend, and the action figures to pick up even more this week. The Red Sox could extend an offer to Billy Wagner as soon as today, and Brian Giles is back on the Yankees' radar screen.

Wagner, who already has offers from the Mets and Phillies in hand, could have interesting third and fourth options in the Red Sox and Braves. Bean Stringfellow, Wagner's agent, said yesterday that he expects to speak with both clubs early this week, although there are no face-to-face meetings planned with either team.

The Braves, given their budget restraints, would have to rely on Charlottesville, Va., resident Wagner accepting a hometown discount of sorts. But the Red Sox, whose closer, Keith Foulke, had an injury-filled 2005, certainly can match the Mets when it comes to financial firepower. They signed Foulke to a four-year deal (for $24 million) two offseasons ago, so they have established a precedent of committing four years to a closer.

The five-year, $47-million contract that B.J. Ryan has agreed to with Toronto will help Wagner, especially if the Red Sox throw themselves into the Wagner sweepstakes. The Mets have offered Wagner a three-year, $30.25-million contract, with a $10-million team option for 2009 that automatically becomes vested if Wagner finishes 60 games in 2008. The Phillies have made a similar offer, only without the fourth-year option. It figures that the Mets will have to go a fourth guaranteed year with Wagner.

While negotiating with free-agent catchers Ramon Hernandez and Bengie Molina, the Mets also have held trade discussions with Tampa Bay about catcher Toby Hall. The Mets have offered a package headed by young second baseman Anderson Hernandez; the Devil Rays want pitcher Aaron Heilman.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, meanwhile, spoke with Joe Bick, Giles' representative, on Saturday. The Yankees' interest in Giles, 34, has intensified now that it appears the outfielder won't be returning to his hometown Padres. The Yankees have discussed internally the notion of signing Giles to a three-year, $30-million deal.

The Yankees could start Giles in centerfield despite his inexperience there; they could play him in leftfield and Hideki Matsui in centerfield; or, less likely, they could trade Gary Sheffield and start Giles in rightfield.

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I think Wagner right now could go to the Mets, tell them that if they guarantee the 4th year, and make the yearly average some 11-12 million, he will get it. Based on what Ryan got, Wagner should have no problem.

I wonder who will overpay for the 38 year old Hoffman though. He still can pitch, but he will be 39 next season.

We shall see.

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Hoffman is a guy that I'd try and get if I had a closer in the wings already who wasn't quite ready for prime time. Give Hoffman a 2 yr deal, based on him closing in 2006 and setting up in 2007. He'd probably never go for it though.

I agree with you but think you give him a three year deal. Tell him you want him to get his 500th save in a Boston uniform and then have him groom Hansen to be his replacement in year 3.

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