Wags the Dog
With reports populating the pages of the New York media chronicling productive meetings and lucrative offers, it appears the Billy Wagner era in Philadelphia could be coming to a, pardon the pun, close. According to the Daily News, Wagner feels that the Phils "waited and now they don't have sole possession." A clearer message I can't imagine. It might not be with the theatre of the T.O. pomp and circumstance, but quite frankly Steven A. Smith, its ceremonious nonetheless. One more time around before his retirement, Wags wants to be paid and really who can blame him? For all his talk about contenders and fans, its not like he has all that much connection to where his services are put to use. He's the epitome of a hired gun. Nor does he presumably plan to change that outlook in the future, since, should he go to Mets, he "probably wouldn't even live in the city. [He'd] live in Connecticut." Hey, whatever, they have Pedro Martinez and a championship atmosphere. Apparently.
While it's a kick in the pants to be losing a bulldog closer from a bullpen which appears to also have lost its backup closer and its young setup man (the later to the rotation, possibly), the hole created by this particular departure might be just what the front office needs to set in motion the remaking of this team. Try as they might to resist that notion, nothing gets the ball rolling like a downhill slope and the Phils, should they be so inclined to "tinker," have some stones they should roll out. With new monies available and a need which can be filled for less, some wise restraint might produce some wise investment. Hard as it may be to admit, it starts with a $10 million dollar closer in his mid-thirties. Outside of losing a quality player, it's a subtraction dictated by market forces; forces the team would be well-advised to take cues from.
The Big Apple beckons with a lot of shiny hubcaps -- I say, let some other owner worry about the dog chasing them down. Better to tend to those who want to remain in the yard.
As a side note, lets hope the Phils sign neither Braden Looper or Roberto Hernandez.