The Red Sox are the team that claimed Mets reliever Billy Wagner off waivers, an MLB source told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney Friday.
The Mets have until early Tuesday afternoon to work out a deal. The Red Sox would have to assume about $3.5 million still owed to Wagner. If no deal is consumated, the Mets can either allow Wagner to leave on the claim or pull him back off waivers. If the Mets pull Wagner back, they would no longer be able to trade him this season.
Mets general manager Omar Minaya declined comment to The Associated Press, and Wagner said he hadn't heard anything about a waiver claim. But the 38-year-old reliever sounded interested in going to a playoff contender.
"I think that's what every player wants to do is play on a contender and have a shot to go to the World Series," Wagner told the AP. "Like we all know, I'm not getting any younger and the window is starting to shut. You want to have that chance, and take it if you get it."
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported Thursday the Mets would likely have to eat some of Wagner's salary in order to receive a viable prospect in return for the reliever.
Wagner, sixth on the career list with 385 saves, was expected to miss the entire season following elbow ligament replacement surgery last September. But he made a fast recovery and returned to the Mets on Thursday night, when he struck out two in a perfect inning against Atlanta and reached 96 mph with his fastball.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein did not immediately respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment. Wagner is in the final season of a $43 million, four-year contract that includes a no-trade clause and an $8 million club option for 2010.
ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and The Associated Press contributed to this report.