Wagner, 38, plans to retire at season’s end

Billy Wagner will retire at the end of this season, the 38-year-old closer told Braves manager Bobby Cox on Friday.

Wagner, who is sixth all-time in saves with 387, wanted to reach 400 career saves and has it plainly in his sights. But with or without that mark, and whether he comes close to John Franco’s saves record for a lefthander at 424 , he’ll call it quits at the end of the 2010 season. He said he will not play out his $6.5 million option for next season, which automatically vests if he finishes 50 games.

He wants to spend more time with his family.

“I still like the competition, that’s why I do it,” said Wagner, who turns 39 on July 25. “I like going out and winning, that still drives me. But being home with them last year, I enjoyed it. There’s so much more to offer them at this age, and I need to be home.”

Wagner and his wife Sarah have three sons and a daughter: Will 11, Jeremy 9, Olivia 6, Cason 3. They live on a farm in Crozet, Virginia near Charlottesville. He got a chance to spend more time at home with them last season while he was rehabilitating from September 2008 elbow reconstruction surgery.

Wagner made his comeback with the Mets last year and was then was traded to the Red Sox for a playoff run. He thought about retiring at the end of last season but reconsidered. He was planning to pitch one more year, even as he signed a one year, $7 million contract with the Braves with an option for 2011.

“I told my kids I’d play one more year and that’s it, and the Braves just threw in the option,” Wagner said.

Wagner has only two saves in three opportunities this season. The Braves’ nine-game losing streak heading into the weekend series with the Astros has limited his opportunities. He’s optimistic the Braves team will turn things around, but becoming only the fifth reliever with 400 saves and trying to catch Franco provide him only targets, not determining factors anymore.

“I wanted a chance at 400, and that’s great,” Wagner said. “I didn’t want to have to chase everything. If it happens this year, great, if not, then so be it. Just try to make this one of those years to really enjoy and have a good time and maybe win a championship along the way. Plus Bobby, he’s always meant a lot to me, growing up. To play my final year and him being his final year – it was the right timing.”

Wagner said Cox told him he thought he had the stuff to continue playing a few more years. Wagner can still hit 97, 98 mph with his fastball.

“He’s had a great career,” Cox said. “Hopefully he can get a whole bunch of saves the rest of the way. I said ‘We’ll go out together, Billy.’”

Wagner earned his second save of the season Friday by preserving the Braves’ 4-2 win over the Astros. He faced just three batters in the ninth despite giving up a walk, by inducing a double play to end the game.

54 comments Add your comment


April 30th, 2010
7:13 pm

Apparently playing for BOOBY COX IS NOT WHAT IT WAS MEANT TO BE.


Nelson S.

April 30th, 2010
7:13 pm

Interesting. Wonder if this lovely stretch of games influenced him at all. Anyway, Kimbrel time!


April 30th, 2010
7:13 pm


April 30th, 2010
7:16 pm

Brian Jordan just smooth over the comment on Chipper on the Pre-Game show. No way to cover up for a player that is washed up like Chipper. I can not wait for COX to retire.

When do the FALCONS start. Are you ready for some FOOTBALL. YES !!!!!!!


April 30th, 2010
7:21 pm

I accept this award for being FIRST on behalf of all the fans that can not wait til this team is dismantled at the end of the year. I wish BOOBY COX, CJONES, DLOWE, and TGLAUS all the luck in the world in other ventures once we show you the DOOR. Get the heck out of town.

Don’t let the door knob hit you on the way out !!!!!!!!


April 30th, 2010
7:27 pm

Looks like everyone has given up.I don’t blame them.

DB Cooper

April 30th, 2010
7:31 pm

they will go on a 6 game run starting to nite


April 30th, 2010
7:34 pm

Wags playing with his kids. Nice vid. Good luck, Wags.


The Grinch

April 30th, 2010
7:40 pm

I’m pretty sure if he’d known how pathetic this team was going to turn out TO THIS POINT (there’s still plenty of time for a turnaround), he’d have signed elsewhere. However, in Wren’s defense (nobody else much seems to be doing it), if ANY of these hitters were close to their career average we’d be doing pretty well. I myself predicted 92-95 wins, and I’m not much of an optimist. He couldn’t have known a bunch of veterans were going to suddenly forget what they learned and/or seemingly lose their ability in their prime, or that Bobby would continue to play them instead of several better options he has on the bench (which for some reason Wren doesn’t get credit for adding). Pretty sure Wren didn’t envision Melky playing every day, or Hinske not playing at all. This is ugly, but not a disaster yet. Regardless, I don’t think a major trade is the answer. For instance, last years black holes in the lineup are doing quite nicely immediately after going somewhere else, which suggest it’s probably not all the players’ fault. Terry is a great guy; got his autograph and I’ll cherish it. But something’s not being communicated.

Dawgdad (The Original)

April 30th, 2010
7:42 pm

Billy Wags is a great guy, best of luck to him in enjoying the rest of his life. Retirement is wonderful, I can vouch. Maybe he can join us on this blog next year. You guys blasting Bobby and Chipper should try to keep it in perfection. They both need to retire but they have both provided some good entertainment and good baseball in the past. We owe them the respect to allow them to leave without so much rancor. Yes, I am looking forward to a new team with new management as well. This collection has worn itself out. Going to be a long season.

Dawgdad (The Original)

April 30th, 2010
7:42 pm

Perspective vice perfection. neither of them were perfect.

The Grinch

April 30th, 2010
7:42 pm

And I’m really surprised at Lowe; I thought based on what I saw in Spring that he was fired up, motivated and going to have a bounce back season like he usually does after a sub par one. He may still, but he’s not looking so great to this point. I also think JJ’s hurt worse than he’s letting on.

braves fan

April 30th, 2010
7:43 pm

it is amazing to see the posts of all these so called Braves fans. To constantly trash one of the best managers of all time and 3rd baseman of all time is unbelievable to me. Has Chipper had better years since last year, yes, even he will admit that. But to disregard all the things these two individuals have done for this city and the Braves just blows my mind. I remember the horrid teams I was given the opportunity to go and watch at the old Fulton County stadium and I wouldn’t wish going back to that for anything. Hell, at least give the team till June before you jump ship.


April 30th, 2010
7:44 pm

MCLouth :)

Prado :)

San Fran Ryan

April 30th, 2010
7:45 pm

I’m assuming you meant to say they will go on a 6 game losing run

The Grinch

April 30th, 2010
7:48 pm

Dawgdad, I agree. I have nothing against Bobby or Chipper at all in the long run. Bobby’s a great guy and has been the skipper during some of my most favorite moments in sports. Chipper’s a Hall of Famer and can still hit when he’s healthy, and even if he couldn’t he (and Bobby) deserve to go on their own terms.


April 30th, 2010
7:49 pm

Oh no. I hope that Astros’ player is alright.


April 30th, 2010
8:18 pm

too bad its Cox’ farewell tour because there is no waaaaaaay the braves can fire his butt before the end of the season. Cox and his coaches stink… just look what some former players are doing. Cox is stuck in 1970… no way he should have Heyward hitting 7th – the kid is a stud and should be at the top of the order. And of course ownership is to blame too – bringing new meaning to the word frugal – there is no one in the middle of the lineup any one fears.. and this takes the cake – yet another washed up closer – how confident do you feel having Wagner take the mound with one foot out the door. And the ultimate insult the Mutts are actually playing good with Francoeur.


April 30th, 2010
8:22 pm

Wags wants to get to 400, it’s unlikely he will slack off “with one foot out the door.” Nice try.

[...] More on this breaking story here. [...]

An Adult

April 30th, 2010
8:34 pm

I can’t believe you are still doing the FIRST thing 01HAWAK.. be an adult and get a life!


April 30th, 2010
8:57 pm

This sorry arse team has already driven one player to retirement. What a shame.


April 30th, 2010
9:21 pm

To : An Adult………………………..I guess you are a CHILD…………….You can not SPELL Hawk !!!!!!!

GO BACK TO SCHOOL !!!!!!!!!!


April 30th, 2010
9:50 pm

One month in Losersville and suddenly Wags wants to be with his kids.Yeah,right.He sees what lies ahead for the rest of the season and now he wants out.Why get a reliever for $7mil per when you don’t have an offense or a defense or a starting staff or a coaching crew.Kinda like a starving village in Africa hiring Emeril Lagasse to be their dessert chef.Who’s kiddin who?Or are they just that clueless……


April 30th, 2010
10:13 pm

Wagner proably realized he wouldn’t get 400 saves even playing with the Braves next year at the rate they are going.
Why did he have to announce this in April though ? I say trade him in June and try to get something back for that #1 pick we donated to the Red Sox.


April 30th, 2010
10:30 pm

Watch the Braves declare themselves “winners” now that they won tonight. We still have the second worst record in the NL. Our players are what they are – it is the ownership that sucks. We need Ted to buy the team back. This ownership group is cheap, and they don’t care if the Braves suck or not.


April 30th, 2010
10:44 pm

The season is not over fellas. Wags will get is 400 before the All-Star break. Mark these words.

Liberty Media Accounting Office (LMAO)

April 30th, 2010
10:44 pm

Don’t worry Mr. Wagner, we were just going to reneg on the offer anyway.
Next season we will not have anyone making that kind of money on the team. Next year we are going to trim the payroll to 2 million and play our games at the Gwinnett Braves stadium to save on the light bill at Turner Field.

Reid Adair

April 30th, 2010
10:47 pm

This has nothign to do with Bobby Cox or the nine-game losing streak. The man is 38 years old, and he is past his prime. Frank Wren made another one of his not-so-brilliant moves, casting out Gonzalez and Soriano to bring in Saito and Wagner.

Well done, Frank.


April 30th, 2010
10:50 pm

Liberty, why are you throwing away money like that? Moving the team to Gwinnett does not make cost effective sense when the team can play at one of the local high schools.

Chip Shot

April 30th, 2010
10:52 pm

hey 01hawk, i guess you cannot spell CANNOT!!!

yea baby, wags retiring will take off 7 mil and Kimbrel is already ready to be our closer so we can trade lowe and use the 7 mil also to go after……..CARL CRAWFORD!!! leadoff problem solved.

Its Not Frank its Bobby

April 30th, 2010
10:57 pm

To all of you who blame Frank Wren for this mess, think again. Frank has crafted together a team that could and should win, Its got strong pitching from front to back, a bunch of position players who have career averages over .260, 2 All-Stars (Chipper and McCann), budding stars in Prado, Escobar and Heyward and an extremely solid bench. The only REAL questionable move was bringing in Glaus to be your bopper.
Now, all that being said Bobby Cox has NO IDEA what to do with this team. They can’t score any runs, and rarely get back to back hit but he NEVER asks anybody to bunt a runner over. Bobby has never played small ball well, which is why he couldn’t win in Toronto and can’t win now in the post-steroid era. Bobby is too deferential to his players and won’t ask them to bunt or sit them down because he doesn’t want to offend them. I don’t care if you’re Hank Aaron, if you are hitting a .180 and there is a guy on first with one or two outs, you better bunt or find a way to get that runner to second. Bobby preaches doing the fundamentals but he doesn’t do them himself, he must realize that other than Heyward he doesn’t have any natural power hitters. He must see this team for what it is and have them play to their strengths which is primarily station to station offense. He needs to let Diaz or McClouth get comfortable as the leadoff hitter and try to manufacture runs. This is why we always lose in the playoffs. Bobby can’t make the adjustment to playing for a run and inning instead of the 3 run bomb. Of course I might as well be talking to a wall because Bobby will NEVER change Good riddance wife beater.
And if Wren makes TP the manager next year I’m moving to Philly to root for a team that understands how to play the game.

CJ Dawg

April 30th, 2010
11:21 pm

You so called “fans”….GO away. You’re not fans of the Braves. You’re simply self indulged morons. I will live and die with MY Braves. MY Braves are the nine guys that hit the field every time the Braves play. MY Braves play as hard as they can. I cannot play the game as well as any of them. I cannot coach as well as Bobby, I can’t make things happen as well as Frank. I support MY Braves no matter what. I was here before the long run and I am here now. Look at me ten years from now, and I will still be pulling for MY Braves.


April 30th, 2010
11:35 pm

Once Wagner retires, it will be interesting to see if Saito stays as the full time closer, or if we get someone else. Derek Lowe has two more years on his contract, and does have a 40 save season. One has to wonder if whoever the new manager is next year would make Derek the closer.

I’m sorry that Wagner will be leaving after only one season. He’s thrown the ball well for the most part, and is a good closer. One cant fault his reasons, though. I’ve read enough biographies of baseball players, both past and present, to understand how difficult baseball is on marriage and family life. If Billy wants to spend more time with his wife and kids, he has every right to do so.

[...] Wagner will retire at the end of the season according to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wagner states that he will not play out his contract that will given him an additional one year [...]

ATL Brownie

April 30th, 2010
11:50 pm

CJ Dawg, AMEN.

Justa Fann

April 30th, 2010
11:52 pm

Please Cox bashers get off his back. He is one of the elite managers in baseball history. There is a chance that with all his experience he knows more about managing a team than you do. Most of your suggestions and comments don’t speak very highly of your knowledge, experience,or ability to do the job with any success.


May 1st, 2010
1:02 am

CJ Dawg you sound like a moron but I bet you could still do a better job than Bobby. If the Braves are going to continue to crap on the field- meaning, a complete lack of effort and work ethic; no idea what’s going on; no fundamentals- then we should all feel obligated to crap all over these blogs in response. If this is YOUR team, my friend, then I feel really bad for you.


May 1st, 2010
1:13 am

CJDawg, Good post! I feel the same way! These have always been My Braves. From 1966 to now, I have always been a Braves fan. These bad mouthing posters are not real Braves fans. Go Braves (win or lose)


May 1st, 2010
1:23 am

It is a wonder that all of the braves haters know all about them and players. well I guess they must watch watch the games. If I didn’t like them I don’t think I would watch.

Johnny Rocker

May 1st, 2010
3:57 am

METS = 1

willieg hates bill shanks

May 1st, 2010
5:28 am


Braves n cubs watch at home still

May 1st, 2010
6:53 am

hey braves are on Fox today at 3pm so lets all watch hockey instead and a auto race are baseball on MLB pkg. On DTV today Hockey at 12:30 Phil flyers n Boston bruins.Poor atlanta has suffer with braves on fox today.Wagner retired after saw how bobby cox ran his club sorta like when he beats his wife are picks his Nose.

Train Wreck Bystander

May 1st, 2010
6:54 am

The trolls are out in force, it seems.

From first to worst in the span of days… at this point in the season it can turn back just as quickly. I am not worried.


May 1st, 2010
7:28 am

Reading the comments shows you are a BC hater or lover….nothing in the middle.

I agree with the comment that BC does not know how to work for run production without the big inning or the over powering staff. This is the reason there are 14 divsion banners and 1 world series. BC can not adjust durring a game or a short series. His concern is to allow things to take the natural course of events with the view that there is always tomorrow.

I recall as a youth playing in a game where our pitcher struck out 19 batters in 7 innings…but he walked 25 batters. In asking the coach why he did not lift him from the game the coach said that he did not want to hurt his ego. Made sense.

BC coaches like this is American Legion ball where the coach does not want to hurt the ego of a player (except one who is in doghouse with BC).

BC: In case you have not heard, this is the big leagues…you play to win. If your team is not hitting you get a new batting coach. If your team is still not hitting you get new hitters. If you can not win you retire.

Scott from Fairburn

May 1st, 2010
7:36 am

Bobby has announced his retirement … it’s time for Bobby to go …the ‘wife beater’ insult is old and tired … quit being low lifes


May 1st, 2010
7:58 am

Billy, we’ll miss you in Atlanta. However, hopefully, Bobby & Chipper & Lowe will follow your cue so our new GM can use that money to attract some premier hitters to this feeble lineup !

luv them braves

May 1st, 2010
8:10 am

Why no bashing of the hitting coach – TP? Frenchy, LaRouche and Johnson are killing the ball with different teams.


May 1st, 2010
8:22 am

I dream of a day with no Cox or Cary! Cox was great in his day but that day ended a few years ago! Cary just is irritating…

Also everyone bashes TP by bring up Frenchy, LaRouche and Johnson, well TP does not fill out the line-up card nightly! Tough luv from Cox would have gone a long way with them, if you can’t hit you sit until you can figure it out…


May 1st, 2010
8:57 am

God Bless Billy Wagner. He has every right to retire and spend time w his family after a long successful career.

But on another point – can this team be any more lame-duck this season? Mgr out; closer out; 3b on way out; 1b stopgap.

[...] Braves closer Billy Wagner said he plans to retire after this season, as Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports here. [...]


May 1st, 2010
10:44 am

Wagner shouldnt have announced this right after a 9 gm losing streak…It just looks like he has no faith in this team and doesnt want to continue to play hard for us. Bring on Kimbrell.

[...] still like the competition, that’s why I do it," Wagner tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I like going out and winning, that still drives me. But being home with them last year [...]

[...] is Major League Baseball. “I still like the competition, that’s why I do it,” Wagner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I like going out and winning, that still drives me. But being home with them last year [...]

Add your comment