While rebuilding the bullpen will be a priority for the San Francisco Giants this offseason, at least one veteran piece will be back after Tony Watson exercised his player option.
One of the first bits of housekeeping each offseason is for teams and players to make a decision on club and player options. The San Francisco Giants had one player with an option decision to make on his end.
Veteran reliever Tony Watson held a player option for the 2020 season after signing a creative, incentive-based two-year contract that included the potential for a third year.
It was announced on Saturday evening that he will be back with the Giants next season.
His 2020 contract will carry a $2.5 million base salary, but once again there will be significant room for him to increase his earning power.
The 34-year-old had an excellent first season in San Francisco in 2018, posting a 2.59 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 32 holds in 72 appearances.
However, his numbers dipped across the board this past season.
While he was still a useful late-inning arm with 25 holds in 60 games, his ERA (4.17) and WHIP (1.26) both climbed significantly, and his strikeout rate plummeted from 9.8 to 6.8 K/9.
He also suffered a fractured left wrist in September that prematurely ended his season, though that is not expected to be an issue looking ahead to spring training.
With Sam Dyson, Drew Pomeranz and Mark Melancon all traded at the deadline, Will Smith set to depart in free agency and Reyes Moronta expected to miss significant time, the Giants will have a new-look bullpen in 2020.
Tyler Rogers, Jandel Gustave and Sam Coonrod all showed potential, but are lacking in experience at the MLB level.
Given his decline in swing-and-miss stuff, Watson might not be a candidate to replace Smith in the closer’s role, despite holding down that job in the past during his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He can still be a bridge to the next closer, though. The Giants will be hoping he can earn all $7.5 million in incentives since that will mean he had a strong bounce-back season.