Pirates Continue Shopping Lefty Reliever Tony Watson

tony-watson

Per Fansided, according to an industry source, the Pirates “want to deal one of their lefties bad.” One of their lefties is Tony Watson, a very effective reliever. The source does mention the Mets as one of the possibilities, along with the Yankees, Rangers, Angels, Blue Jays, and Nationals.

Watson, 31, is one of the most consistent lefty relievers in the game, having appeared in at least 67 games every season since 2012. During that span, he has gone 24-11 with a 2.40 ERA (3.31 FIP), striking out 308 batters in 345.1 innings. The sinkerballer gets most of his outs via groundouts, with the fortunate side effect being he rarely gives up home runs, allowing no more than five in a season from 2012-2014 and only three in 2015.

He had somewhat of a down year in 2016, during which he went 2-5 with a 3.06 ERA and 4.37 FIP, allowing 10 home runs. He was thrust into the closer role after Mark Melancon was traded away, so the change of roles seemed to have taken a toll. In September for example, he went 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 10.2 innings. Opposing batters hit .275 off him in what was the worst month of his 2016. This is the first year in his career he posted anything but elite numbers, so it is safe to say that there’s a good chance he will return to form in 2017.

The Mets should absolutely be interested in obtaining his services for two reasons, the first of which being he would make an excellent 7th inning man in front of Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia. The second reason is that he has held lefties to a .200/.266/.284 slash line in his career. Even in his “down year” in 2016, he held them to a .206/.253/.324 line.

If the Mets needed him to be a lefty specialist on any given day, he could certainly fill that role. He could step in to face the likes of Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, or Justin Bour when needed. Against Watson, Harper has gone 0-6, Murphy has gone 2-5, Freeman is 1-6, and Bour is 0-1.

The Pirates have a logjam of lefty relievers, also including brief Met Antonio Bastardo. They would like to trade one of them and teams would most definitely give more for Watson. MLBTR projects Watson will make $5.9 million in his third year of arbitration, which seems like a steep price tag for a reliever, but would be very reasonable if he continues to be the lights out setup man he has been since 2012.

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About Logan Barer 341 Articles
Ever since I experienced Mike Piazza's post 9/11 home run to beat the Braves in person at Shea, I have been a die-hard Mets fan and exhaustive lover of baseball. I am currently a student at Ithaca College where I am a pitcher on the varsity baseball team. My pitching idols include Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver. My dream is to one day pitch on the mound at Citi Field wearing the orange and blue. Let's Go Mets! Follow me on twitter @LBarer32