It's been real, William Edward Wagner. But it's time to go. Too much money. Too many years. You're getting old. Your injuries scare me.
Consistency is an admirable trait -- particularly for relief pitchers -- and Wagner is entitled to a significant premium.
Reports have Wagner asking for 3 years / $29M with a full no-trade clause. I'm fairly certain he will get this, or close to it, from somebody. "Closerism" is deeply ingrained in the fabric of the game. Someone will overpay. It should not be the Phillies. This is an unbearable burden for the team for a number of reasons.
First, the Phillies have $77 million in salary already committed for next season. If, as many predict, the Phillies shop one of their high-priced bats -- Abreu, Thome, or Burrell -- in the offseason for salary relief, a new Wagner deal would already absorb the bulk of that salary subtraction, which would also suck because suddenly you've lost one of your most productive hitters.
Second, I don't think it's wise for an acting GM and team President to go balls out in signing a guy, completely handcuffing the team's payroll, and then go GM-hunting. This is the kind of thing that should be left up to a new General Manager. "Congratulations, welcome aboard! Oh, sorry, you can't really do crap because there's no salary flexibility, and every schmuck on the roster has a no-trade clause. Hey, look, here comes the Phanatic!"
Third, and not intending to pull a Marzano on anyone, but... I watch the games. Wagner's velocity is down 3-4 MPH over last season. The guy makes his living off his fastball, although he's developed a nickel slider to the point of usability in the past couple seasons. I'm not one to point out pitchers' physical size as a predictor of future health; I just don't see enough evidence to indicate that they injure more easily. But I will point out that Wagner has suffered two pretty serious arm injuries in the past six seasons. He's also 34 years old. I'd be fairly shocked if he didn't decline significantly over the life of his contract.
I like Wagner and I'd love to have him if I felt he were a good chance to pitch at the same level he did this season. The quality high-leverage innings he provides are incredibly useful. I think the Phillies' offer of 2 years guaranteed and an option year, or three years without the no-trade, at about $8M per year sounds fairly reasonable.
Otherwise, offer arbitration, take the draft picks, let the Mets overpay, sign BJ Ryan, and restock the farm.