#Phillies have released LHP Tony Watson.
— MiLB-Transactions (@tombaseball29) March 27, 2021
In case you missed it, the Phillies started to finalize their 26-man roster yesterday and decided not to keep veteran lefty, Tony Watson. Instead, they optioned him to the minors, prompting him to opt-out of his contract in search of an opportunity with a major league club. He’ll no doubt get one, he’s an 11-year veteran with a career 2.80 ERA who also happens to be left-handed. I didn’t think it would be possible for the Phillies to piss me off this much before the season even starts, but here we are.
I realize I’m probably a little crazy for being upset about the release of a guy we signed to a minor league deal. But, considering the Phillies had the second-worst bullpen ERA in history last year and struggled to even have lefty relievers on the roster, I have to ask…WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING!?
I’ve seen multiple reports starting their articles by saying Watson struggled in the preseason…THAT’S ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT. Yes, if you’re a moron and looked only at his cumulative stats then a 7.20 ERA doesn’t look great. But, if you were paying attention at all you’d know that the four runs that Tony Watson gave up this preseason all came in the same game. In that game, the Phillies were already down 9-3 and Girardi gave Watson a longer leash because these games don’t matter. He didn’t have his best stuff that day and gave up five hits, four earned runs, in one-third of an inning. That’s baseball, it happens.
You wanna know what the rest of Watson’s spring looked like? He had six other appearances, 4.2 innings pitched, four hits, NO EARNED RUNS, and a 7/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. I’ll say that again… SIX SCORELESS APPEARANCES and one poor outing in a game that was already out of hand. So I’ll ask again, WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING?
Are we really going to keep Jojo Ramero, a guy who’s thrown a total of 10.2 MLB innings over an 11-year veteran because he had a 1.04 ERA in spring training? Are we really going to keep Sam Coonrod, a guy with a career 5.74 ERA and only 42.1 MLB innings over Watson? Call me crazy, but I’ll take Watson’s resume of almost 600 MLB innings and a 2.80 career ERA with a little more weight than a combined 17 solid innings that Ramero and Coonrod threw in spring training this year.
The other aspect of this that I don’t understand is even if you think you have guys on the roster that will be more valuable than Watson, you know you’re going to lose Watson if you don’t put him on the roster. I don’t know the exact rules but I know for a fact there are guys on this roster that haven’t been in the league long enough to opt-out if you option them to Triple-A. So why not put Watson on the roster to start the year, see if he continues to pitch well, and make a decision from there? If he struggles then send him down, if he doesn’t then you look like a genius signing him for so cheap. The most realistic scenario is someone else gets hurt and it opens up a spot for the guy you were gonna keep on the roster anyway. But no, instead we’re gonna let him walk and end up with another team where he’ll most likely be very successful. I watched the video below earlier and every single “got ’em” was like a punch in the stomach.
I want to believe this move isn’t going to screw the Phillies. The other additions the Phillies have made have pitched very well so I want to believe we will be fine without Watson. But I still see a lot of question marks. Matt Moore wasn’t even in the majors last year, Sam Coonrod had a 9.82 ERA last year, Jojo Ramero had a 7.59 ERA last year, and then guys like Velasquez and Neris have been shaky ever since coming up with the Phillies. Watson to me seemed like a rock. Maybe he wasn’t going to post a 1.5 ERA but you knew you were going to get a workhorse who would give you 60 innings out of the pen and a 2.50-3.50 ERA. Unfortunately, I have a really bad feeling we’re going to be looking at our bullpen later in the year wishing we hadn’t let this guy walk.