Trade Deadline: Dodgers Acquire Lefty Tony Watson From Bucs For Pair of Minor Leaguers

Tony Watson

According to reports, the Dodgers have acquired left handed reliever Tony Watson from the Pirates. The deal is still pending a medical review. It is not known yet what’s going back to the Pirates in the deal, but reports are confirming two minor leaguers are headed to Steel town in the swap.  (Update) The minor leaguers headed to the Pirates are……

As for Watson, he’s not terrible, but nothing to write home about. He’s essentially a serviceable left handed middle reliever with potential upside. The 32-year old southpaw has spent his entire career with the Pirates. He made his MB debut in 2011. Perhaps his best season with the Bucs was in 2014. In that season he posted a 10-2 record with a 1.63 ERA in 78 games.

This season he’s pitched in 47 games and posted a 3.66 ERA while allowing 11.0 hits per nine innings. He’s posted a 6.8 K/9 rate while striking out 35 in 46.2 innings pitched. He’s allowed 7 home runs and 14 walks while posting a 2.5-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Watson primarily throws a four-seamer, sinker, and changeup. He can also throw in a slider as well. His four-seamer and sinker top out at around 94 mph, while his change and slider are normally thrown around 85-86 mph.

His ground ball percentage this season has decreased from 43.8% last year, to 43.6% this year. That’s still fairly consistent. His LOB% is 84.1% this season and he’s recorded ten saves this year out of the Pirate’s bullpen.

Potential worries.

Declining strikeout rates

There is some concern with Watson. One concern is his declining strikeout rates. In 2014 he was striking out 9.4 per nine. This season that’s plummeted to 6.8 per nine.

Midseason struggles

Watson had posted an ERA of 4.97 in June and the Pirates had to move him out of the closer role. He gave up 17 hits in 12.2 innings pitched in the month of June. May was a tough month for him as well, as he posted a 5.14 ERA and allowed 19 hits in 14 frames.

Problems against left handed hitters

Watson has allowed a .308 average against left handers. They’re 20 for 65 against him with a .711 OPS in 71 plate appearances. (He’s also struggled against right handers as well)

The good part is that Watson has been pitching better of late. He’s posted a 2.53 ERA in July and allowed just three earned runs in 10.2 innings pitched this month.

Watson is having a somewhat down year, but he’s been a relatively effective reliever for the majority of his career. As I’ve said before, it’s important to acquire players who are playing well during the trade deadline, or having good seasons. Anyone having a down year is unlikely to help you down the stretch or in the postseason.

However the Dodgers needed to pick up a left hander for the bullpen. Right now the only active lefty reliever they have is Luis Avilan, and the only other left hander available that can help is Grant Dayton and neither of them are very good. Watson at least gives the Dodgers another left handed option and opposing hitters a different look. I’m willing to give him a chance and see how he performs. It’s important to keep your expectations low though, and I will.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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19 thoughts on “Trade Deadline: Dodgers Acquire Lefty Tony Watson From Bucs For Pair of Minor Leaguers

      1. Left handed reliever from the Reds……to Texas, Calhoun, Alexy and Davis. Alexy and Davis at class A.

  1. So aside from Darvish, we add: Watson, Cingrani, Ferrell, and Ysla. Boy does FAZ love relief pitching!

    Well at least we got a starter.

  2. Once there was a farmer who raised a particularly fine crop of tomatoes. His family had all the tomatoes they could eat but there were many more in the field. Some of the family thought it would be a good idea to trade some of the excellent tomatoes for some lettuce and perhaps a cucumber so they could have a salad. But the farmer wouldn’t trade because the other farmers wouldn’t take his not so good tomatoes for the lettuce and cucumbers. They did trade him some parsnips and rutabagas for the culled tomatoes, but they don’t fit well in salads. But the farmer held his ground. Soon the heat, the birds, and the snails had their way with his tomatoes and the potential was lost. I’m sure you can see the relationship this parable has for the Dodgers; If you don’t use it in time, you will lose it. If FAZ isn’t going to bring Verdugo up and use him now to replace a failing Reddick, I mean Forsythe, then trading him for Sonny would have been a timely use for him. By next year, he may be another SVS. so too some of those pitchers. All prospects do not pan out.

    1. So, is Calhoun a tomato or a rutabaga?

      This is about this year. This is Hill again, only Darvish is much better and not on the DL. Darvish won’t likely re-sign here and certainly not for $48 million.

        1. Also 98 cents a pound, about half the price of other tomatoes. But they keep well and are best used in cooking….

  3. Do you realize that Puig, at $7MM, is the most expensive position player on our team? ( 25 man roster) Forsythe, who really shouldn’t be there and won’t be next year, is making about $5MM. Next year, I presume Agon will be traded, so Puig and Grandal will be our most expensive position players, all the others will likely be less than $1MM in salary. Our best usage of prospects might be pairing them with financial deadwood in trades to clear our books…

    1. I would not jump on that A-Gone will be traded, I think if his back does not hold up the rest of this year, he will just retire.

    2. I don’t understand how people think aging, declining, oft-injured players like Kazmir or Gonzalez can be traded.

      Does anyone here think Kazmir (who Jonah didn’t bring up) wasn’t shopped all last off-season? If no one was interested in him then, why would they be interested now?

      Without pulling a inverted Ned and adding a Carlos Santana type prospect, why would anyone take Gonzalez? He’s old, slow, has a bad back and gets pair a ton.

      On top of that I believe he’s a 5 and 10 player, which means he can turn down any deal.

      You can argue that he’d want to play, but would he want to spend a year in Minnesota on a bad team? In Toronto on a mediocre team?

          1. I believe San Diego was his home. GMs and owners don’t ask you where you want to play. I don’t think he has 10 and 5 rights with the Dodgers. but he may prefer to retire anyway if his back is a problem.

        1. Good question. Maybe. AGon and a prospect for $11 million makes sense on a couple of levels. It is his home town, so he might put a few extra b.i.s.. A 1.5 WAR would pay his salary. And a prospect? It might work. $11 million closer to getting below the cap. I’m still not sure how important that is.

          The fine is 50% of money over $197mm, right? Big deal. But those other stipulations, draft pick and IM decompensation, confusing on the surface, appear to be designed to derail teams like the Dodgers and Yankees, who clearly don’t mind spending money. These new punishments may be more important to FAZ than the money. I just don’t know. But what little language that is coming out if the office suggests maybe they want to make an attempt to reboot the punishment phase. If we win it all this year I think it will make it easier to just dump payroll if they want.

          Then again, I may not know what I’m talking about.

  4. I am really intrigued by this Watson trade. Finally we land a lefty sinkerball reliever. I am going out on a limb here and proclaim that Watson will have a greater contribution than Darvish in the postseason.

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