Ken Rosenthal broke news that the Atlanta Braves signed closer Billy Wanger to a one year $7 million contract last night. Wagner returned from Tommy John surgery last season to appear in 17 games for the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox.
There is also a vesting option for 2011.
Signing Wagner will undoubtedly ease the pain from the probably loss of both Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez but comes with great risk as Wagner has yet to throw a season worth since his surgery and is 38 years old.
The Braves offered both Gonzalez and Soriano arbitration, as they are both Type-A, but never really got engaged in contract talks with either. The Braves have also shyed away from multi-year deals with relievers in the past and injury concerns about Soriano and Gonzalez are as great of a talking point as those same concerns about Wagner.
Should Soriano accept arbitration he’d make in the neighborhood of $8 million, as for Gonzalez he’d figure to make $5 million.
This does little to change the fact that the Braves are still seeking to trade either Javier Vazquez or Derek Lowe. Should Wagner stay healthy the pen would be pretty solid for the Braves with sidearmer Peter Moylan, lefty Eric O’Flaherty and reliever/spot starter Kris Medlen also in the fold.