The deadline for a trade to the Red Sox isn't until Tuesday afternoon, but Wagner intends not to waive his no-trade clause, according to a Major League source. By early Tuesday morning, at least one of the teams had been made aware of Wagner's intentions.
Foxsports.com, which first reported the story, suggested the hangup was over Boston's refusal to accede to Wagner's request to agree now to decline arbitration for 2010. The Red Sox were believed willing to accept Wagner's request that they decline his $8-million option for 2010, but that's it. Wagner apparently doesn't want to be offered arbitration, either, since he wants to go somewhere to close games next year, and when ranked free-agent players decline arbitration the signing team must surrender draft choices, which can diminish that player's value.
In an interview with SI.com on Sunday, Wagner, who's still not a year removed from Tommy John surgery, also expressed concern about his health, and particularly his ability to pitch on back-to-back days. Though the Red Sox are known for treating pitchers gently, Wagner seemed to feel it would be easier for the Mets to be delicate since they are not in the race.
Wagner has said that he would most like to close games, something that won't happen with either team, so he intends to sign somewhere other than these two teams next season. Wagner said on Sunday that he believed he'd remain a Met rather than go to the Red Sox by Tuesday's afternoon deadline, citing "inside intuition.'' He knew it was up to him, so he would indeed have the inside scoop.
Both teams appeared likely to agree to the components of a trade, as both were motivated to move Wagner to Boston, sources say. But Wagner has a full no-trade clause and can veto any trade.
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon made public comments suggesting he didn't believe the team needed to add the accomplished Wagner, who responded by acting surprised and slightly put off by Papelbon's remarks. "I don't have anything to say about somebody like that,'' Wagner said. "When he walks in my shoes, then I'll say something. Let him be 38 and have Tommy John surgery and come back.''
The Red Sox are the only option for Wagner, as they won a claim on Friday. They appear to want him, while the Mets likely wouldn't mind unloading the $2.7 million remaining on Wagner's contract for this year. But in the end, only Wagner's wishes appear to matter.