That didn’t take long.
Just hours after the deadline for teams to offer arbitration, the Atlanta Braves have reportedly signed free agent closer Billy Wagner to a one-year deal.
The deal is reportedly worth $7 million and has a $6.5 million vesting option for 2011.
The option reportedly becomes guaranteed if Wagner finishes 50 games next season.
As with all pending deals, it won’t become final until Wagner, 38, passes a physical, which he is expected to take Wednesday in Atlanta.
Wagner is a Type-A free agent, who was offered arbitration by the Red Sox on Tuesday.
As such, Boston will receive Atlanta’s first-round draft pick in 2010 (the 20th overall pick) as well as a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds.
Wagner spent most of last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
He made two strong relief appearances for the New York Mets before he was traded to the Boston Red Sox where he served in a setup role to Jonathon Papelbon.
In all, Wagner made a total of 15 appearances for 13.2 innings pitched. He struck out 22 and walked just seven, while giving up three earned runs.
His overall record was 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA and six holds.
Wagner wasn’t shy about his desire to close and made that clear when he agreed to waive his no-trade clause last summer only if Boston agreed not to pick up his $8 million option for 2010.
Wagner is currently ranked sixth all-time in total saves with 385. He is third on the active list behind only Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera.
His return to the ninth inning role also gives him an opportunity to garner out the 40 saves he needs to pass John Franco for the all-time record among left-handed pitchers.
Additionally, the Braves give Wagner a chance to win.
He stated that a big reason why he accepted the trade to Boston last year was an “overwhelming desire to pitch in a pennant race.”
The Braves proved last year that they were only a few pieces away from the Wild-Card.
As such, Wagner just might get another chance at a pennant race.
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