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Wagner's fate in his own hands


Billy Wagner's fate, ultimately, will be in his hands, say people involved in trade talks between the Mets and Red Sox.

While there was no word Monday evening that the particulars of a potential trade had been finalized, sources indicate both teams want to do a deal and the bigger question will be Wagner's desire. Wagner has a full no-trade clause and can veto any trade. If the teams sense he won't go, they just may not complete a trade.

Wagner said in an interview on Sunday that he believed he'd remain a Met rather than go to the Red Sox by Tuesday's afternoon deadline. The reason, he said, was "inside intuition,'' which could be a nice way of saying he might decide not to go. Wagner repeated his belief that he'd likely remain with the Mets while talking to the New York media on Monday.

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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.''

Wagner said in an interview with that he would most like to close games, something that won't happen with either team. He also expressed concern about being put in position of having to pitch consecutive days only 11 months after surgery, though the Red Sox are known for treating pitchers very gently. Wagner also suggested he might want to have the Red Sox immediately agree not to pick up the $8-million option for next year since he wants to go somewhere to close games and Boston already has Papelbon.

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, if Wagner doesn't want to go, it won't matter what the teams think.