Part of the Dodgers’ last-minute trade deadline frenzy, Tony Watson transformed from an afterthought to a key postseason contributor during his brief stint in Los Angeles.
In 24 games with the Dodgers in the regular season, Watson posted a 2.70 ERA and an 18/6 K/BB ratio across 20 innings. That success continued into the postseason as the left-hander made 11 appearances (7 innings) and posted a 2.54 ERA.
With all that said, it’s impossible to classify the move to acquire Watson as anything but a success — despite the fact that he’s now officially a free agent.
The Dodgers were taking a chance on a formerly successful reliever in the final year of his contract despite the fact that he was in the midst of a down year (3.66 ERA in 47 games for the Pirates).
The result was a middle-innings reliever they could trust in big spots (only Kenley Jansen and Brandon Morrow appeared in more playoff games) — all for a seemingly small cost.
Overall in 71 games between the Dodgers and Pirates, Watson yielded a 3.38 ERA, 4.45 FIP and 1.38 WHIP while striking out 53 and walking 20 in 66.2 innings. In seven postseason innings, he gave up five hits and two earned runs.
Despite being a game many of us are hoping we soon forget, Watson’s biggest moment may have come in Game 2 of the World Series. Watson entered in the top of the 6th inning with a runner on first, one out and the score tied at one.
On just one pitch, Watson induced an inning-ending double play. In the bottom of the inning, Corey Seager hit a go-ahead two-run home run to put the Dodgers up 3-1 with their best relievers warming up in the bullpen.
Of course, things didn’t go as planned from there, but Watson’s quick outing set the Dodgers up for success on the biggest stage.
Currently a free agent, there’s almost no way to imagine Watson returning to Los Angeles — not because he didn’t earn it, but simply because he’s not what the Dodgers are looking for.
This winter figures to be a slow one in free agency for the Dodgers (luxury tax reasons), and a pitcher like Watson can probably fetch a moderate contract elsewhere that is more lucrative than what the Dodgers would be interested in.