The Milwaukee Brewers could use another bullpen arm or two. Could Tony Watson be a fit?
They have some internal options to fill those spots, but there’s also a chance they look to the free agent market to fill one of them.
Brewers: LHP Tony Watson A Bullpen Fit?
Tony Watson will be heading into his age-36 season, but there doesn’t appear to be a steady decline in production for him. In 2020, Watson posted a 2.50 ERA over 21 outings covering 18 innings of work. He had an excellent 0.88 WHIP and he kept walks to a minimum at just 1.5 BB/9.
For a while Watson was one of the best bullpen arms out in Pittsburgh and now has been successful out in San Francisco. In three years with the Giants, Watson has a 3.20 ERA.
Now the left-hander is a free agent. The Brewers just recently let go of one of their lefties in Claudio, which means there’s an opening for another lefty in that Milwaukee bullpen. Josh Hader has the closer’s role, and he might still get traded, and Brent Suter is in a long relief capacity and the Brewers don’t have another lefty to throw in there to face a string of lefties in the opposing lineup.
Watson can fill that role. He comes at hitters with a lower arm slot that carries some deception, which is something the Brewers usually love.
In his career, Watson is at his best in September and October with a lifetime 1.99 ERA. He’s a veteran arm that has plenty of experience in big situations and he could help along the very young bullpen of the Brewers. The most experienced arms down there are Brent Suter and Josh Hader with just over three years of MLB service time. They could use a seasoned veteran out there.
Watson had a $3MM salary for 2020 and he could command a similar or lesser price tag in free agency this winter. He’s getting up there in age and there are a lot of options on the free agent reliever market, which could end up suppressing salaries.
Against the Brewers, Watson has a 3.04 ERA in 51 games. Getting him on the Crew’s side might be a good idea.
But even better than that, Watson has dominated the Cubs and Cardinals. Against Chicago, Watson has a 2.54 ERA in 55 games. Against St. Louis, Watson has a miniscule 1.93 ERA in 60 appearances.
A veteran lefty pitcher with some deception, a track record of success against the Cubs and Cardinals, and good numbers across the board sounds exactly like the kind of pitcher the Brewers should be trying to get into their bullpen.
If the Brewers do look to free agency to supplement their bullpen group, don’t be surprised if they get in on Tony Watson.