4 Phillies non-roster invitees poised for Opening Day roster
By Matt Rappa
4. Tony Watson
Signed on Wednesday to a minor-league deal with a spring invite, left-handed reliever Tony Watson is perhaps the most intriguing name on this list.
A 10-year veteran who played the first six-plus seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Iowa native has been one of the most consistent bullpen arms in Major League Baseball.
Appearing in 21 games this past season for the San Francisco Giants, Watson went 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA, 0.889 WHIP, and a 15-3 strikeouts to walks ratio spanning 18 innings pitched.
In 2014 with the Pirates, Watson earned his first and only career All-Star nod — going 10-2 with a 1.63 ERA, 1.022 WHIP, and 81 strikeouts across 77 1/3 innings.
The 35-year-old may prove to be just as valuable a free-agent signing as were the team bringing back J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius. Watson will earn $3 million if he makes the major-league roster.
Watson, Jose Alvarado — acquired via trade from the Tampa Bay Rays this offseason — and Jojo Romero seem poised to be left-handers manager Joe Girardi turns to this coming season. There is also fellow southpaw Matt Moore who will get a look in the starting rotation.
Watson only securing a minor-league deal may raise some concern, but it is worth considering the current free-agent market is more unpredictable than ever due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is also ironic that the same day be signed with the Phillies, their former right-hander Brandon Workman inked a big-league deal with the Chicago Cubs.