Before the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million contract, the Phillies reached out to former closer Billy Wagner, who retired following the 2010 season with the Atlanta Braves, to see if he wanted to pitch for them again. Wagner closed for the Phillies from 2004-05 before signing with the New York Mets.
"It was after the regular season ... just to see if I was even contemplating coming back or had an itch or anything," Wagner told the New York Post. "I just told them, 'No, I do not have an itch.'"
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. confirmed the story.
"We had some interest in him coming back to pitch, but he's not, so we've moved on," Amaro said.
For the moment the Phillies' bullpen includes Papelbon, Jose Contreras, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes, Kyle Kendrick, David Herndon and possibly others like Justin De Fratus, Michael Schwimer and Joe Savery. Contreras is recovering from elbow surgery, so he is far from a certain thing in 2012. But Amaro is not letting on if he feels the Phillies need another arm or two in the bullpen.
"We're comfortable with what we have," Amaro said.
There is a chance Ryan Madson could accept the Phillies' offer of salary arbitration Dec. 7, if he cannot find a multiyear contract to his liking. Scott Boras, who is Madson's agent, surprised the Phillies in 2003 when he had Kevin Millwood accept salary arbitration. Placido Polanco also surprised the Phillies in 2005, accepting salary arbitration, so those types of move are not unprecedented.
The Phillies said they have not closed the door on Brad Lidge returning, either.
"It's not a priority right now," Amaro said of finding a veteran arm for the bullpen. "I don't view it as a necessity."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less