This doesn’t win the division

ESPN.com – MLB – Phillies close deal for Astros’ Wagner

People will start saying that acquiring Billy Wagner will win the division for the Phillies, but people always overestimate the importance of ninth-inning relievers. Wagner is very good, and Mesa and Williams very bad, but the Phillies are still managed by Larry Bowa, they’re still paying big money to guys like David Bell, and they still don’t seem to have any direction as a franchise.

6 thoughts on “This doesn’t win the division”

  1. I think this means that Millwood is less likely to be offered a significant deal by the Phils. While I still see his return to Atlanta as highly unlikely, it does expand, slightly, the available arms out there.

  2. I think this is great for the Braves. They have faired pretty well against Billy boy over the past 4 years.

    For those who think this mean the ends of the Braves reign at the top of the NL East, think again. The Phillies signed not only a #1 starter last year, but also the biggest free agent available in Thome and look what it got them; 3rd place. Wagner is good, but you have to have the lead when he comes in for him to be effective.

  3. I’m sure the Houston fans and columnists are howling, but I always thought Dotel was a much better pitcher. Sure, he doesn’t have the steady 97-98-99-mph gas that Wagner does, but he’s also less likely to give up the crushing homer.

    Good move for the ‘Stros.

  4. Yeah, Dotel’s a better pitcher. Where it hurts the Astros is that it takes Dotel out of high leverage situations and into those one-inning three-run-lead jobs.

  5. As a stathead of sorts, I try not to overestimate the value of the 9th inning reliever, but this still is a pretty substantial upgrade for the Phils. They blew 18 saves last year. Wagner blew 4. Now, figure he regresses somewhat, let’s say next year they blow only 10 saves. That’s 8 more saved games. And if they went .500 in their blown saves last year and go .500 in their blown saves this year, that’s an improvement of 4 wins.

    But that said, they also lose Millwood who, whilehe wasn’t great for them (especially in the second half), he was a good pitcher overall. So that’ll offset the gain.

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