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Wagner deal looks unlikely

Posted by Adam Kilgore, Globe Staff  August 25, 2009 08:10 AM

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The deal that would send Mets reliever Billy Wagner to the Sox appears to be coming to a halt. After Wagner threw a scoreless inning yesterday in New York (with Sox assistant general manager Allard Baird present, according to The New York Times), Wagner said he believes he will stay put.

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"My gut tells me I'm going to Florida now," Wagner told reporters in New York, a reference to the Mets' next road trip. "Unless something changes, I'll probably be a Met."

The Sox have a deadline to complete the waiver transaction by 1:30 p.m. today. The issues are contractual. Wagner, who has a no-trade clause (which FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports he will invoke), does not want the Sox to pick up the $8 million 2010 option on his contract or offer him salary arbitration. That way, Wagner would be far more appealing as a free-agent closer in the offseason. Wagner has 385 career saves and wants to find a team for which he can close, so he can reach 400.

"I'm too old to set up," Wagner said.

The Sox especially would oppose not offering Wagner arbitration because they then would lose compensatory draft picks.

In his lone inning yesterday, Wagner proved why the Sox are interested. He walked one and gave up no hits, striking out two while touching the mid-90s on the Citi Field radar gun.

Wagner's agent, Bean Stringfellow, did not return messages seeking comment.

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