The Los Angeles Dodgers have officially lost a pitcher who earned two out of their three World Series victories in 2017.
Tony Watson will certainly be an interesting trivia answer for Dodgers faithful after his memorable stint with the club, but he’s now swapping out Dodger Blue for the Orange and Black.
The San Francisco Giants have simultaneously upgraded their bullpen and stolen a piece from their arch rival by signing Watson.
The agreement was first reported by FanRag Sports. The contract is for two years and a guaranteed $9 million with a player option for a third year.
Performance bonuses could make the deal as hefty as $14 million over those two seasons. It could escalate to $21 million over three years if the player option is exercised.
Watson was acquired at the trade deadline last season by the Dodgers and proved to be a valuable bullpen contributor.
In 24 regular season games for the Dodgers, Watson had a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. He began the season as the Pittsburgh Pirates closer, but lost that job in June.
Watson improved after the joining the Dodgers and the lefty ended up appearing in five World Series games, giving up just two hits and no earned runs in 3.2 innings.
Watson will now be reunited with Mark Melancon in San Francisco after being named an All-Star in 2014 while serving as his set-up man in Pittsburgh.
The Giants have undergone major changes to their bullpen in recent seasons. The four relievers on all three championships since 2010 (Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Sergio Romo) are all gone at this point.
Their bullpen for 2018 is projected to consist of some combination of Melancon, Hunter Strickland, Sam Dyson, Cory Guerrin, Derek Law, Steven Okert, Josh Osich, Will Smith, and now Watson.
The Giants bullpen ranked 19th in the majors in ERA and 27th in WHIP. Watson will presumably be a welcome addition to that unit.
Of the Giants relievers listed above, Okert, Osich, and Smith are lefties. Both Okert and Osich had ERAs above 5.60 last season, and Smith is coming off Tommy John surgery. Watson gives the Giants a more reliable left-handed option out of the bullpen.
The Dodgers’ Bullpen
As for the Dodgers, their bullpen for 2018 is projected to consist of some combination of Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, Scott Alexander, Ross Stripling, Tony Cingrani, and Tom Koehler.
Alexander and Cingrani are the lefties out of that group. The Dodgers acquired Alexander in the three-team trade that sent Luis Avilan to the Chicago White Sox back in January.
The Dodgers ranked second in in the league in bullpen WHIP and fourth in bullpen ERA last season.
Watson and Cingrani were the only two lefty relievers that the Dodgers used in the 2017 playoffs.
The Alexander acquisition makes the Dodgers losing Watson easier to digest, but the Giants have certainly upgraded their bullpen.
Watson will now have the pleasure of experiencing one of the best rivalries in sports from both perspectives. Let’s hope he’s on the losing side of things.
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/farm-hand-fridays-best-walker-buehler/2018/02/18/”]A Close Look at the Number One Prospect Walker Buehler[/button]