NY Post, The Phillies were interested in having Billy Wagner come out of retirement next season, but the star closer passed on both returning to baseball and rejoining the Mets’ arch rivals.
Wagner, who retired after a sparkling 2010 with the Braves, told The Post yesterday the Phillies called him directly after the 2011 season ended.
“It was after the regular season ... just to see if I was even contemplating coming back or had an itch or anything,” Wagner said. “I just told them, ‘No, I do not have an itch.’”
The Phillies’ interest came prior to their signing of new closer Jonathan Papelbon for four years and $50 million. Wagner, now 40, would have cost far less money. He pitched for the Phillies in 2004-05 before signing with the Mets in 2006.
If Wagner had gone back to Philadelphia, it would have been a fun return to the Mets-Phillies rivalry for the brash and funny flamethrower. Considering how strong the Phillies are, it also would have provided him with a chance for his first career World Series ring.
In Wagner’s final season in 2010, he was still an elite closer, posting a 1.43 ERA and racking up 37 saves for Atlanta. He says he has zero interest in pitching again.
“No, I’m done. I’ve got a major role on a JV baseball team,” Wagner said of his current post at the Miller School of Albemarle in Charlottesville, Va. “I’m JV baseball coach.”
Wagner said he believed teams reached out to his agent during the season to see if he were interested in returning, but he instructed his representative to pass. Wagner said at that point, the Braves still had his rights.
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