NEW YORK (AP) _ All-Star closer Bill Wagner was traded Monday from the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies, The Associated Press learned.

Both teams called news conferences for later Monday.

While no names were immediately announced, two high-ranking major league team officials said on the condition of anonymity that the deal involved Wagner.

Philadelphia sends Houston right-hander Brandon Duckworth, minor league right-hander Taylor Buchholz and another minor leaguer, one of the officials said.

Wagner, a three-time All-Star, figures to solidify a bullpen that struggled at times last season as the Phillies competed until the final week of the season for the NL wild card but fell short.

Wagner, 32, is due to make $8 million next season, the third in a $27 million, three-year contract he agreed to in January 2002. The deal contains a $9 million team option for 2005 with a $3 million buyout.

Wagner was 1-4 with a 1.78 ERA last season and had 44 saves in a career-high 78 appearances.

He had criticized Astros owner Drayton McLane for not making a move to get another quality starting pitcher for the 2003 season and expected more of the same for next season.

``It's going to be a tape job,'' Wagner said after the season finale. ``It's not like we're going out there and getting any marquee pitchers.''


AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia contributed to this report.