Look, here's the thing: we've watched more Mets baseball than is probably--okay, definitely--healthy over the past couple of years*, and we're just not sure that picking up anyone who has spent any time in their bullpen is a good idea. Hell, anyone who has ever been cared for by one of their trainers, anyone who played with them in spring training, anyone who has watched an entire Mets game this season is almost suspect at this point. After word that they ignored Johan Santana's** sore elbow for, oh, an entire season came out, how can any other organization trade for a Mets player without the lingering fear that they're getting some dude with post-concussion syndrome or a gimpy elbow or, hell, a severe case of baseballphobia?
Not that we have anything against Billy Wagner personally, of course. We don't actually know him. Sure, he's caused his share of heartache and pain, but so has every other relief pitcher in the history of ever. Mo blew the 2004 ALCS that time, and you won't find any Yankees fans who won't argue--at the top of their lungs, even, until you need to tell them to just "shut up, already, we know"--that he's the best closer to ever close a game. Pap's blown a few himself. Trevor Hoffman, Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage: no one has a 100% save rate, which means that they've all caused a bit of the old weeping and rending of the garments action.
And, fine, there are rumors that he's not the easiest guy to be around, though we're taking anything Schill says about someone else's personality with a grain of salt. But, hell, until he actually pisses one of our guys off, we're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that front. Because, again, we don't know Billy Wagner, and we don't know anyone who does. Maybe if our dream of hanging out with David Wright and Jose Reyes is ever realized we'll get some of the juicy gossip, but in the meantime we're stuck with Jon Heyman and Buster Olney.
No, we're mostly scared because a) as with any former Mets player, the fear that said player's hand will fall off and run away is a legitimate one, and b) we was in the Mets bullpen that killed all winning during that horrible stretch we call the Post-Endy-Pre-K-Rod*** Period. Maybe he'll be okay? Sure, the move from the NL to the AL is the absolute wrong direction, as John Smoltz would tell us if he weren't so busy blaming his former Red Sox teammates for not noticing that he was tipping his pitches or whatever he's doing out there in St. Louis, and he's less than a year removed from the dreaded John of Tommy. And, fine, Papelbon's already calling him out, and there's been a bit of a war of words going on. But, you know, it's a contract year for Billy, so maybe he'll pull a Johnny Damon and hit a bunch of windtunnel-aiding home--or, erm, he'll kick ass and take names and get lefties out all night long. Who can say? If nothing else, we should--crossing all sorts of fingers--get some sort of draft picks out of these whole experiment, which will already rate it as more successful than our other failed reclamation projects these year.
Of course, ask us again after we find out who the hell the PTBNL are going to be. We've got us some baby baller woobies we don't want to see consigned to a life on the DL.
*Endy Chavez's Catch was the beginning of the end.
**Yes, that Johan Santana. The one they've got millions invested in. The one who--Jason Varitek's freakish ability to hit him aside--is a legitimate perennial Cy Young candidate. The one good starting pitcher they actually have. That Johan Santana.
***We still think K-Rod's overrated, by the way. Or at least not as good as he used to be. But signing him was at least some sort of acknowledgment by Omar Minaya that, hey, having one good starting pitcher doesn't really help if he doesn't pitch a complete game every time he's out on the mound.