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SF Giants: Former closer Tony Watson agrees to deal with Angels

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tony Watson #56 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 23, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tony Watson #56 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 23, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Tony Watson
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 05: Tony Watson #56 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning at Oracle Park on September 5, 2020, in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Angels continued to tinker with their 40-man roster even as Opening Day approaches by signing a former SF Giants reliever. Left-handed hurler Tony Watson has signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Angels after a brief trip through free agency.

Watson was reeled in by the Philadelphia Phillies on a minor-league pact with a camp invite earlier this year, but he was released toward the end of camp. This may become a regrettable decision by the Phillies as their bullpen posted an unsightly 7.06 ERA in 2020. Retaining Watson would have helped them in improving substantially on that mark, but alas, it was not meant to be.

Former SF Giants reliever Tony Watson inks deal with Los Angeles Angels.

Watson, a ten-year veteran, has quietly been one of the better relievers over the last decade, pitching to the tune of a 2.80 ERA with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Giants. The hurler spent the last three seasons with the Giants where he served as a high-leverage arm. In that time, he registered a 3.20 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.10 WHIP, and a strong 4.41 SO/W ratio.

In 2020, he was even better than that as he produced a 2.50 ERA with 15 strikeouts, three walks, eight hits, and two saves across 18 frames. He only had one bad outing, where he yielded three earned runs without recording an out against the San Diego Padres in the penultimate game of the season. Up to that point, he was leading the league in ERA with a number well below 1.00.

Yet, despite his solid marks, Watson did not find a lot of interest on the free-agent market. After settling for a minor-league pact with the Phillies. Teams may have been spooked by his age, declining fastball velocity, or the underlying stats (4.36 FIP in 2020), that suggest he is due for regression.

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Nevertheless, this could be an opportunistic move by the Log Angeles Angels as they get Tony Watson on an affordable, major-league deal. The 35-year-old joins Raisel Iglesias at the back-end of a revamped Angels bullpen. The reliable lefty for the SF Giants should find plenty of high-leverage opportunities with the Angels in 2021.

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