The SF Giants not only made a major move at the trade deadline by acquiring Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, but they quietly made a second move, bringing back left-handed hurler Tony Watson in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels. To complete the deal, the Giants sent Sam Selman as well as a pair of prospects in Jose Marte and Ivan Armstrong to the Angels.
SF Giants bring back LHP Tony Watson in trade with Angels
Watson returns to San Francisco where he spent three seasons with the club before departing in free agency last winter. The veteran southpaw struggled to find a guaranteed deal, so he signed a minor league pact with the Philadelphia Phillies that included a camp invite.
Given that the Phillies bullpen posted an unsightly 7.06 ERA in 2020, Watson stood a good chance of making the club. However, that did not come to fruition and the Phillies parted ways with Watson at the end of spring training.
His foray into free agency proved to be short-lived as he signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Angels. This proved to be a good addition for Los Angeles as the 36-year-old had a 3.43 ERA across his first 23 appearances, but a six-run outing in the middle of June blew up his stat line.
In total, the left-handed hurler registered a 4.64 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, and a surprisingly low 1.79 SO/W ratio across 33 innings. This is a far cry from Watson’s time with the Giants where he produced a 3.20 ERA while demonstrating superb command.
The Giants are hoping that the lefty can regain the form that he demonstrated not long ago and help down the stretch. He joins a bullpen that is flush with left-handed options including Jake McGee, Jarlin García, José Álvarez, and Sammy Long. Of course, San Francisco also has Caleb Baragar and Conner Menez working out in Triple-A as well.
In exchange for Watson, the Giants shipped out three pitchers in Sam Selman, Jose Marte, and Ivan Armstrong. Selman posted a 4.06 ERA in three seasons with the Giants while seeing sporadic usage.
On the other hand, Marte and Armstrong are similar in a lot of ways in that they have a live arm, power fastball, and subpar command. Of the two, Marte is further along in his development, so he has a shot of cracking the Angels roster at some point. Armstrong is in Low-A, so there is plenty of development left to realize.
The Giants set out to add pitching at the trade deadline and they did that in a way by acquiring a familiar face in Watson. Given the veteran presence and funk delivery, Watson brings a unique skill set to the bullpen. The Giants are hoping that he can quickly rediscover the pitcher he was in his first stint with the Giants.