Agent: Wagner intends to play in 2010
Veteran lefty 15 saves shy of attaining 400 for his career
Billy Wagner told the New York Post on Tuesday that he was considering retirement and not planning to talk to teams when he hits free agency this offseason. The next day, his agent told FOXSports.com those statements might've been a bit premature.
Wagner's representative, Bean Stringfellow, told the Web site on Wednesday that his client "has every intention of playing next season," especially after coming back late last season after recovering from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery performed in September 2008.
"He wants a ring, and he did not do all that rehab just to quit now," Stringfellow told FOXSports.com. "His family supports him fully."
On Sunday, Wagner pitched two-thirds of an inning for the Red Sox in Boston's 7-6 loss to the Angels in the decisive Game 3 of the American League Division Series. In the wake of that defeat, the veteran left-hander indicated that he plans to retire.
"Why wouldn't I?" Wagner told the Post. "I've got nothing else to [accomplish]."
Wagner, 38, is 15 saves shy of becoming only the fifth player in Major League history to notch 400 for his career -- an exclusive list that includes Trevor Hoffman (591), Mariano Rivera (526), Lee Smith (478) and John Franco (424). Among left-handed pitchers, only Franco has more career saves than the 385 compiled by Wagner over 15 seasons.
Reaching 400 saves did not seem to be a priority for Wagner when he spoke to the Post earlier this week.
"That's just dust in the wind," he was quoted as saying.
This past season, Wagner posted a 1.72 ERA over 17 games between stints with the Mets and Red Sox. After being claimed off waivers by Boston in August, Wagner indicated an interest in pursuing a closer's role near his Virginia home for 2010, but he told the Post that he would not look for a job this offseason.
"I don't plan on talking to nobody," he said.
The Red Sox have agreed not to pick up the $8.8 million option included in Wagner's contract for next season, meaning that he will be eligible to test the free-agent market. A source told the Post that Wagner may just need time to cool off after Boston's postseason exit, but noted that Wagner is making family his top priority in deciding whether to retire or pitch in 2010.