Billy Wagner told manager Bobby Cox that he intends to retire at the end of the season, reports Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Braves inked the 38-year-old southpaw to a one-year, $7 million contract over the winter. The deal includes a vesting option for 2011, something Wagner says the Braves simply “threw in.”
Wagner starts Friday’s action with 386 career saves -- currently sixth all-time. Barring injury, he should be a lock for 400 saves, although it should be mentioned that he has only had two save chances in April, of which he is 1-for-2.
When looking at Wagner’s place in history, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better left-handed relief pitcher. Wagner boasts a 2.39 ERA and 1.01 WHIP during his 16-year career, averaging an eye-popping 11.8 K/9. I guess you could throw John Franco, Sparky Lyle, Jesse Orosco and former Tigers’ left-hander John Hiller in the discussion, but Wagner sits at the top of my ballot.