Why is Wagner still on the roster?

Bill Shanks talks about a mystery that has fans wondering if the Braves will get their closer back for one more year.

It's February 10. We're four days from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.

And the closer who is supposedly retiring is still on the Atlanta Braves 40-man roster.

Billy Wagner is still listed when you check out the official roster. Is it a typo? Probably not, since they update the site immediately when a roster move is made by a team.

Everyone has been vague this winter when asked about this situation. Frank Wren and Wagner's agent, Bean Stringfellow, have almost brushed it off like it's no big deal. The excuse of "he just hasn't gotten around to filing his papers" is not holding water as we get closer to the time when everyone reports to Florida.

But the question remains: why haven't they?

Are they holding out hope Wagner will return? There have been rumors his family may be telling him it's OK for him to return, and even Fox Sports's Ken Rosenthal has hinted that he's heard the door may still be open.

Wagner will walk away from $6.5 million if he retires. But money can't be the issue, as he's made $92 million in his career (according to baseball-reference.com). But is he just battling with his decision, if in fact it's up to him to fill out paperwork and make his retirement official?

The weird thing is this: Wagner's $6.5 million that he could make this year is almost exactly the same amount that Kenshin Kawakami is due from Atlanta. Are the Braves perhaps waiting to trade Kawakami to make room for Wagner?

Now it's unlikely the Braves will get any team that will take all of Kawakami's money off their hands. But still, trading Kawakami will free up some cash. Could that go to Wagner if he had a change of heart?

We're just throwing stuff up against the wall here, speculating because the fact that Wagner is still on the roster this late in the offseason is bizarre. There just doesn't seem to be a logical reason for Wagner to still be on there.

Will Wagner's name still be on the roster when they have their first workout on Tuesday? We'll see. But if it is, the speculation will continue until we see it off the roster.

Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, GA and The Atlanta Baseball Talk Show. Shanks writes columns for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.

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