While Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith are the most talked about trade chips on the San Francisco Giants roster, reliever Tony Watson should also generate plenty of interest from contenders.
In order to win a World Series title, a team needs to have a solid relief corps. With that in mind, veteran southpaw Tony Watson should have plenty of value if the San Francisco Giants make him available.
The 34-year-old has a 2.64 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with 16 holds in 33 appearances. He also sports a solid 23-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 30.2 innings of work.
Every postseason contender needs a quality left-handed reliever or two to face the best left-handed hitters on the opposing team in crucial late-inning situations. As such, this was a tough list to put together, since there’s not a contender out there that wouldn’t welcome some bullpen help.
Just like I did with my Pablo Sandoval landing spots story, we’re going to take a look at the five best landing spots for Tony Watson.
However, there will be no return mentioned in this story, since the market for Watson is not quite as clear as it was with Sandoval.
5. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox bullpen was sketchy at times last season, but things clicked down the stretch and they were able to roll their way to a World Series title.
However, they currently sit eight games back in the AL East and one game back for the second AL wild-card spot, and the bullpen has been part of the problem. While the relief corps has posted a 3.96 ERA overall, they’ve also blown 15 saves in 31 chances. That 51.6 percent save conversation rate ranks 29th in the majors.
Watson is not going to take over the closer’s role, but he would be a welcome addition to the late-inning contingent. The Yankees have a right-handed heavy lineup, but there are other games to be won between now and the end of the season.
4. Minnesota Twins
The Twins are a fun young team on the rise, and they are having a great season to date.
They currently have just one left-handed reliever in their bullpen, which makes it hard to play the matchups and to choose the right time when to deploy southpaw weapon Taylor Rogers.
The team has used Rogers in tandem with Blake Parker in the closer’s role, so giving manager Rocco Baldelli another left-hander to work with could also help put them in a better position to close out games.
In the grand scheme of things, the addition of Watson could go a long way toward helping the Twins secure the AL Central title.
3. New York Yankees
The Yankees have not hesitated to add further bullpen help in the past, despite having an already strong relief corps.
They traded for Zack Britton at the deadline last year when there was not a pressing need, and a similar move to acquire Watson would give them further depth.
Also, with Britton pitching alongside Aroldis Chapman and Adam Ottavino in the late innings, there would not be much pressure on Watson to perform since he’d likely be used primarily as a middle reliever.
It could be a case of the rich getting richer. Do the Yankees need Watson? Not necessarily, but he could help take some pressure off the starting rotation by further shortening games.
2. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have joined the list of teams in serious need of late-inning relief help after closer Jordan Hicks suffered a torn UCL that will lead to season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Carlos Martinez will now take over as the team’s closer, while left-hander Andrew Miller and converted starter John Gant will continue on in their setup roles.
Still, there is plenty of need for another lefty in a division loaded with powerful left-handed bats.
The Cardinals might aim a bit higher given the loss of Hicks, but Watson could wind up being a solid consolation prize if they’re not willing to pay the steep price for some of the top bullpen arms on the market.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have not completed a trade in over a decade, but a trade between the longtime rivals makes a ton of sense.
Team president Farhan Zaidi knows the Dodgers farm system, which should help him maximize the return and get the best prospects possible.
There’s also a level of familiarity with Watson since he was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline in 2017 when he helped them win the NL pennant.
It also sounds like the Dodgers and Giants are willing to do business this summer:
The Dodgers bullpen needs work, and it’s not out of the question to think they could wind up targeting both Smith and Watson in their search for setup options ahead of Kenley Jansen.
So there you have it, five teams that make sense as a potential landing spot for San Francisco Giants reliever Tony Watson. Where will he wind up when the dust settles on the July 31 trade deadline?