The Phillies are reportedly looking to improve their bullpen even more this offseason as they are negotiating a deal with reliever Tony Watson.
The Phillies aren’t done adding to their bullpen just yet this offseason, even with pitchers and catchers reporting Wednesday. According to Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports, they, along with the Giants and Red Sox, are talking to left-handed reliever Tony Watson about potentially signing.
Pursuing another reliever may mean that Matt Klentak couldn’t find a starter at a price he wanted in free agency. The club was rumored to be pursuing another veteran starter, but nothing was in the works. Instead, they will try to load the bullpen with as many good relievers as possible.
Watson is a first-time free agent this year at 32 years old. He pitched six and a half years in Pittsburgh before being traded to the Dodgers at last year’s deadline. In 71 games between the two teams, he had a 3.38 ERA, 1.380 WHIP, and 7.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was worth a full win above replacement combined.
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Watson was particularly effective once he reached Los Angeles, logging a 2.70 ERA and 1.050 WHIP after being traded. In the playoffs, he made 11 appearances totaling seven innings pitched as Dave Roberts relied heavily on his bullpen. Watson allowed three earned runs on nine hits, striking out five while walking two.
However, with the way this offseason has progressed and how close we are to Opening Day, Watson may wind up signing a one-year contract.
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If Watson does sign here, he would likely replace Adam Morgan as the go-to lefty in the bullpen. Morgan had a strong resurgence in the second half, but Watson would be an insurance policy in case Morgan regresses. If they are both effective relievers, all the better.
A potential Watson signing would force either Edubray Ramos or Hoby Milner out of the major-league bullpen. They both flashed potential late in the season. Who makes the team may depend on if the coaching staff wants a third lefty in the bullpen.