Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Bucs and Mariners Could Match on a Deal


Earlier this offseason, it was reported that the Seattle Mariners could have interest in Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Tony Watson.

As the season ended, many Pittsburgh Pirates fans felt Tony Watson could be on the trading block.  He had a down year by his standards, struggled in his audition to close, and is entering his final year of club control.  Shortly after the end of the season, it was reported that the Seattle Mariners could target the Pittsburgh Pirates lefty.  Bob Dutton, the Seattle Mariners beat writer for the Tacoma Times, said:

"The trade market is still developing, but one name to watch is Pittsburgh lefty Tony Watson, who is believed to be available. He has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining after making $3.45 million."

Nothing there confirms their interest, but similar to Pirates beat writer Rob Biertempfel, Dutton has inside sources.  He very well could have talked to someone in the Mariners organization that planted that name in his head. It would make sense too.  The Bucs need to move a lefty reliever and the Mariners have reported interest in adding an impact one.  In fact, today, Ken Rosenthal wrote that the Mariners are continuing to look at adding another reliever.  Rosenthal wrote in his article:

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"“They also maintained a reasonable amount of payroll flexibility – they still would like to add another reliever on top of their three newcomers… The bullpen, anchored by closer Edwin Diaz, would benefit from the addition of a seventh-inning type.”"

Now based on that, the Mariners may not be looking for a high-end reliever.  However, Jerry Dipoto, the Seattle general manager, has been ultra-aggressive in deals since taking over last off-season. If he made another deal for a high caliber reliever, like Watson, it would not be surprising.  As of now, the Mariners depth chart has Steve Cishek listed as the set-up man.  Cishek, who has some what regained his form from the past, is a right handed pitcher.  Acquiring Watson could allow them to do multiple things.  They could either move Cishek to the 7th and make Watson the 8th inning man, or they could use Watson or Cishek in the 8th based on match ups.

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Even if the Mariners decide not to make a bigger move for a player like Watson, the Bucs still have the depth to send back to the Mariners.  The Pittsburgh Pirates could offer a player like Antonio Bastardo, who also has been reported to be available.  Regardless of who goes, a source has told Rum Bunter that the Bucs really want to move one of their lefties bad before the start of the season.  With the Mariners looking to add a reliever, the Bucs could be a perfect match that would benefit both sides.