Pittsburgh Pirates: A Former Bucco Who Could Help In Free Agency
By Marty Leap
This offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates will likely be in the search of bullpen help in free agency, one free agent who could help is a former Pirate reliever
Every offseason, most MLB teams are in need of bullpen help. That certainly will apply to the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason. There is one free agent reliever who is a former Bucco that could help the team in 2021.
This familiar face is lefty Tony Watson. Watson spent the first six and a half seasons of his MLB career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and now an offseason reunion is one that would seem to make a lot of sense.
The COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, Watson pitched in 21 games for the San Francisco Giants. He logged 18 innings, and posted a 2.50 ERA, 4.36 FIP and a 4.56 DRA. He walked 4.1% of batters faced and struck out 20.5% of batters faced.
Watson, throughout his MLB career, has pitched in countless high leverage situations. This could make him a valuable arm in high leverage situations for the Pittsburgh Pirates, joining Chris Stratton, Geoff Hartlieb, Blake Cederlind, and Richard Rodriguez, if he is not traded, in these situations. On a one-year deal, he could build his trade value up for a potential deal at the July trade deadline.
Watson could also be a good veteran presence in a young Pirate bullpen. Hartlieb, Cederlind, Nick Mears, and Nik Turley are all young and/or inexperienced pitchers that could play a big role out of the bullpen for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021. Watson could be a much needed veteran down in the bullpen helping to teach the best ways of tackling a 162 game MLB season.
Of course, Watson is a familair name for fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In July 2017, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a great trade for the Bucs in which they netted slugging prospect Oneil Cruz, who recently reported to Dominican Winter League camp in preparation to make a push for MLB time in 2021.
As a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Watson logged 433 innings from his MLB debut in 2011 through July 2017. Watson posted a 2.68 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 6.9% walk rate, and a 21.7% strikeout rate in those 433 innings pitched.
With the Pirates, Watson took the ball and did his job. He was a key member of the Pirate bullpen on their 2013, 2014 and 2015 postseason teams. Now, a reunion is one that could make sense for Watson and the Pirates.
This offseason, as the Pirates look to add bullpen help, Watson could make sense. The former Bucco reliever would fill the team’s need for left-handed bullpen help, a high leverage arm and veteran leadership. We will have to wait and see if Watson and the Pirates can make a match this offseason.