Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One-Year Wonder Pt. 11: Billy Wagner

Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.
Billy Wagner did not even pitch a full year for the Red Sox actually. He was suffering an injury-plagued year for the Mets in 2009 when they traded him late in the season to the Red Sox for financial relief, Chris Carter, and Eddie Lora. Wagner was once one of the best closers in the game.

Wagner immediately paid dividends for the Red Sox though. Despite pitching in only 15 games, Wagner was a big pickup. He was relatively well-rested due to the injuries, so he was a big weapon out of the pen down the stretch.

Wagner went 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 22 strikeouts in only 13.2 innings as a lefty out of the pen. He gave up only eight hits, five earned runs, and seven walks. After the season, the Red Sox offered him arbitration, but he left for a closing opportunity with the Atlanta Braves. Boston got a first round draft pick though which was used on Kolbrin Vitek, now a top ten prospect in the Red Sox system.

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