NEW YORK -- The Mets have hit Billy Wagner with a formidable 1-2 combination, offering him more than $30 million one day and acquiring Carlos Delgado to beef up the lineup the next. The veteran closer says he is more than a week away from making a decision and that he will listen to any club's offer. But he indicated Wednesday the Mets clearly are the leader at this point.
Speaking from his home in Virginia, Wagner characterized the overall pursuit of him as "a one-horse race right now," and described the offer the Mets made as "fantastic" and "exciting." He made that obversation early in the afternoon, before the Phillies upgraded their contract offer. Still, he had seemed a tad dismayed by the course the Phillies appeared to have taken.
Speaking of the club for which he has pitched the last two summers, Wagner said, "There are a lot of things you don't do, taking one step back to take one forward. You're just standing still. The Mets seem to be moving forward.
"I really like what they've done. And I don't think they're done. I'm excited. They look like the one team that wants to win, so far. They've got a game plan for winning. I was hoping to make a decision after I come back from vacation [next month]. And right now, only one team has made a legitimate offer. It's like a one-horse race right now. But there's time and we still expect the two more offers [from the Phillies and Red Sox].
"But it sure looks like the Mets aren't just trying to put a competitive team on the field. They want to win."
Mets general manager Omar Minaya presented the team's offer to Wagner and his agent, Bean Stringfellow, Wednesday at Shea Stadium. The proposal provides for a fourth year at the Mets' option. The fourth year would become guaranteed if Wagner satisfies a contractual provision based on a number of innings reached.
Asked whether the three-with-an option structure was satisfactory, Wagner said, "There's room to grow."
He expected the Phillies to upgrade their offer, and still expects the Red Sox and possibly the Braves to make offers before Dec. 1, when he and his wife leave for South America on their 11th anniversary vacation.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.