FEBRUARY 19: Watson is officially a member of the Giants. He will earn $3MM in 2018 and $3.5MM in 2019 before considering a $2.5MM player option ($500K buyout) for 2020, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link).
FEBRUARY 17: The Giants have reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with free-agent lefty Tony Watson that includes a player option for a third season. Watson is represented by the Boras Corporation.
Watson receives a $9MM guarantee, but it’s far from certain that he’ll end up earning precisely that amount. His total earnings could increase to $14MM over two years or $21MM for three years, depending on escalators and performance bonuses. Of course, Watson could also elect to return to the open market and leave some of the guaranteed money on the table.
[RELATED: Updated Giants Depth Chart]
The complicated structure will allow the Giants to stay shy of the luxury line, at least for the time being. Despite having had only limited availability at this stage of the winter, the San Francisco organization was able to fit another veteran piece as they seek to engineer a dramatic turnaround from a ghastly 2017 performance.
Watson, who’ll turn 33 at the end of May, has long been a productive late-inning reliever, though he has also long outperformed his peripherals. It seemed he was fading a bit during a less-than-stellar first half of the 2017 season with the Pirates. But Watson finished strong after being dealt to the Dodgers and ended 2017 with a 3.38 ERA over 66 2/3 frames.
Rather remarkably, that quality run prevention effort matched the worst full-season earned run average of Watson’s career. Over his seven campaigns and 453 innings in the majors, Watson carries an excellent 2.68 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. He also has ample late-inning experience, including thirty saves.
Watson got much better results after changing uniforms, though it’s not crystal clear just what changed. He tweaked his horizontal release point, shifted toward his two-seamer and away from his slider, and started working higher in the zone with his fastballs. The bottom line remains that he brings 94 mph and a ~12% swinging-strike rate from the left side.
Regardless, the main question probably remains whether skipper Bruce Bochy will deploy Watson more as a general setup man in front of former Pittsburgh teammate Mark Melancon, or whether instead he’ll use the southpaw in a more targeted fashion against opposing lefties. Righties tagged Watson for a .271/.348/.460 slash last year and have long found greater success against him than their left-handed-hitting counterparts.
Jon Heyman and Robert Murray Fan Rag reported the signing (Twitter link). Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweeted the structure, while Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com had the guarantee (via Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
oh, dear, watson
It’s a good fit.
It’s a pretty good deal for a guy who can close if need be !
They are improving. Good pick up. Wondered who was actually going to pick this arm up.
Good signing. I have to wonder what the impact on the CBT threshold is though.
They were going to go over anyway. Tax is calculated on end of season payroll, not Opening Day payroll. Unless they were planning on not adding any players to the 40-man roster for the entire season, the Giants made this signing taken for granted that staying under the tax threshold was a ship that had already sunk
Given that they’re desperately trying to stay under right now I doubt they have said the shop has sailed.
Dumping Pence and adding a prospect to entice a team to take on some of pences money this year is probably more difficult for the giants because of their weak farm.
Not sure if Pence has a NTC either that would further complicate things.
Looks like you were wrong. I was wondering how they were going to pull it off but they did stay under, as I knew they would.
He’s still right though, as soon as someone gets injured and they call up someone from the minors, that players salary goes from $12k to 500K. One or two of those and they are over. Unless they plan on going the whole year without injuries.
There are numerous factors at work here.
Cot’s does factor in an estimate for players who are optioned being called up either in September or at some point during the season.
Signing bonuses are factored in, but any performance bonuses are not.
You can bet that the Giants would love to unload some salary, somehow, but it won’t be easy. So many teams are either in full scale rebuild and have no need for expensive veterans, or are up against the tax themselves. It will probably take giving up a very good prospect just to unload a couple million dollars.
Being in the 50% bracket, it’s critical to reset the tax rate.
They also lose draft picks for signing any QO free agent next year, and don’t get compensated well if they lose a QO.
I’d bet on the Giants being sellers anyway, but that’s just me.
dang, thought he could’ve been a nice fit for the angels. Good move
they really needed him… they only have like 3 lefties on the roster, all on which are not locks to make any other team’s rosters
I’d say jose alvarez is pretty much a lock, but you are right. A left handed relief pitcher is the one thing i think we still need and i thought watson would’ve been perfect
halos and quacks
Heaney, and Skaggs are practically locks
I mean lefty relievers… heaney and skaggs are locks for starting rotation for sure but
Solid move. I really like this signing for the Giants.
Giants are already World Series favorites. Watson is superior to Chris Sale, James Paxton, and Jose Quintana
(Inside joke for those who don’t get it)
No my dude
Why not? Watson, being better than Quintana, Paxton, and Sale, is clearly a top-5 lefty in the MLB. He’ll carry the team to the WS
Why are all your comments silly bs. Stick to baseball or go to other sites
I can’t decide if he simply thinks he’s ironically funny but dreadfully isn’t, or if he’s on to some meta level where he’s playing that role to mock people who are like that. Either way I’m not laughing.
It’s obvious he’s mocking others that do that.
Cardinals are still the best Wild Card team in the NL.
There’s no way! If anything, the Dodgers will make the Wild Card round because of Puig. They’ll lose to the Cardinals despite Matt Carpenter’s massive regression.
carpenter is the number 1 detriment to st louis going forward. as soon as him and his best buddy wainwright leave, st louis will be a force
Sean Ford 101
The cards have no starting rotation. Carlos Martinez is a good pitcher yes, but who else? Wacha? Wainwright? I don’t trust the cardinals
Pretty sure the giants were already over the tax so i would expect the giants to make a salary dump deal.
All indications were that they had yet to eclipse the luxury tax threshold. This singing will more than likely do it though.
I was just going by cots tax tracker and they were over.
On second look looks like they have 2.13 mil to spend before going over it was the Redsox and nationals who were over.
Imagine being so dull you downvote this because you don’t think they’ll be under the cap by the end of the year lol. All teams will be under with the exception of the Redsox more then likely
I didn’t downvote anything, I’m on the app lol they’re still under the threshold even after this deal and I’m actually quite surprised.
Apologies that wasn’t directed toward you, it was to these buffoons who think all teams should go over the tax this year and don’t understand how the CBA works. SF will be dumping salary at some point it’s guaranteed.
No worries my dude. Just a misunderstanding on my part. I agree, I think they should do everything they can to stay under the LTT. Although the recent DFA of Dickerson has SF written all over it. I’m hoping they’ll find a way to shed some salary and bring him in.
You’re just bitter
Giants are looking much better than last season, NL West should be pretty interesting this year. My guess is Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres, with the Giants and Diamondbacks pretty close in the standings, and the Dodgers lower than expected.
Rockies are seriously underrated. All the projection systems consistently undervalue bullpens. I really like what they’ve done this offseason. If their young pitchers can hand off a lead in the 6th then forget about it. I’d put them behind the Dodgers but ahead of everyone else in that division.
I disagree. The Rox added a number of bullpen pieces, but that was to replace the guys they lost. Talent wise it’s pretty much a wash, The only variation is the pen is more expensive than it was. They limped into the PS last year playing sub-.500 ball in the second half. They can hit, and they’ll win some high scoring games at Coor’s as usual, but IMO they just don’t have the pitching to be a WC team again.
Last year the Rockies had the 20th ranked BP in the majors……they lost Holland and added Davis. That move isn’t going to suddenly give them a good BP.
Not a big fan of this guy. I do like what the Giants have done this offseason but it also can backfire with all these older guys but it also could work. We shall see. The West could be a tight race in the AL and the NL even though some may say not in the AL I actually think the Angels will be better than people think. And in the NL it’s gonna be really close with the Dodgers, Rockies, possibly the D-Backs and possible the Giants as well.
Insurance in case Will Smith doesn’t come back healthy, I think. Also allows the Giants to have either Okert or Osich stay in the minors. Player-wise, I think it’s a good signing but payroll-wise I’m concerned about what it means for the cap and the subsequent penalties for next season.. If Sabean and Co. want to go for it with this crew and shoulder the luxury tax penalties then I feel like they’re still a starting pitcher or two short.
I wonder how much of Pence’s Salary they would have to eat in order for someone to take him on. I can’t imagine they want to be over this year so even if they’re over now they can still dump some during the season but they would be better off dumping salary now, we’ll ideally like last month. To late for that now. Obviously they will dump salary if they’re out of it come July. What if they’re.500 at the deadline that’s when it will be interesting and difficult to shed salary and improve
Really liked him as a Dodger this bums me out
Meh they still not going to get out of last place
And no center fielder
Jackson/Blanco will platoon. If Duggar lights it up in ST, it’ll be Jackson/Duggar
“Watson got much better results after changing uniforms, though it’s not crystal clear just what changed. He tweaked his horizontal release point, shifted toward his two-seamer and away from his slider, and started working higher in the zone with his fastballs. The bottom line remains that he brings 94 mph and a ~12% swinging-strike rate from the left side.”
What a weird paragraph. “It’s not crystal clear just what changed.” Immediately list three specific examples of what changed.
i thought it was weird because he starting throwing fastballs up in the zone and apparently got better…….? Usually opposite i would think
A lot of pitchers are afraid to work high and inside so the batters have an idea of where his best hit able pitches are gonna be. Not being afraid to throw anywhere makes it much harder to guess the pitch.
Pitching at the top of the zone with the FB can be very effective. Most players have trouble getting on top of a ball pitched there. The risk/reward makes it a bigger gamble, but if a guy can do it it;s extremely effective. Expect lots of pop-ups and cans of corn.
I’m still hoping that we bring back lincecum. One of my favorites. But trust me I know all you expert baseball analyst don’t think that’s a good idea. Just a fan favorite and a thought. Before you all get your panties in a bunch.
I think they will offer him a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training anyway.
Watson is a great lefty option for Boch.
san fransisco ex pirates..
good luck tony!
3 ex buccos on same team. hopefully that will gel quickly with the rest of the team..
Melancon , Cutch and Watson. Pirates reunion in SF
How about Strickland and Gorkys?
Boy the giants are gonna be ugly in a hurry..I get that they are trying to extend their window but they are fooling themselves. They’re only making the team older and less able to win
Why don’t educate us in last years opening day roster? Older now? Seriously, please cut and paste lastyears opening day roster and demonstrate to us idiots hoe they’re worse.
Watson’s career ERA vs NL West:
Excellent vs NL West. Worst era was against team he now plays for
Quality arm with proven late inning track record, especially against left handed hitters. Nice compliment to Will Smith, providing Bochy with more opportunity to play the matchups. Well done at minimal expense it appears.
Now deal Strickland for Keon Broxton and let’s play ball…
Brett Phillips is better than Broxton but I like ur thinking
I believe this is the first Boras client to have signed this off-season.
I think that honour goes to Nick Franklin who just signed this week as well. Watson maybe the first in a major league deal though.
I believe Austin Jackson is a client of Boras
He used to be but is no longer. Jackson is a client of Octagon. From what I’ve been able to gather Boras represents 15 clients this offseason at least ( Jon Haymon says 15+). JD, Arreta, MM, Holland, Matt Hoilday, Jayson Werth, Carlos Gonzalas, Carlos Gomez, Hosmer, Watson, Nick Franklin, Stephen Drew, Chris Coughlin, and Jeremy Helickson. Not sure who the 15th or other players are.
It just occurred to me the Giants have McCutchen, Melancon, and now Watson… are they trying to replicate the 2015 Pirates?
Has he long out performed his peripherals, or is he just another example of how the peripherals are not indicative of performance?
I think he’s in the same category as guys like Hendricks and Cueto, who are able to outperform their peripherals by inducing weak contact
The Giants brass said they were looking to upgrade OF, 3B, and bullpen. They’ve checked those boxes. Unclear who the starting CF is but otherwise they have a fairly complete roster.
Weird question. Could a team circumvent the salary cap by paying a player less but organizing (behind the scenes) a sponsorship deal with say an auto company that pays them a chunk of money?
could they do it? sure. would the repercussions of being caught circumventing mlb rules make it worthwhile? ask Atlanta
I don’t know that that would get them in trouble, if they served as agents yes but if they just booked a guy up with a friend no, the thing is that organized groups like the one that owns the Dodgers and the partners in the marlins could do what you are saying and get themselves in trouble because they own prominent companies that could endorse the player
Considering the Giants miraculously are staying under the luxury tax after signing Watson, the giants by and away have had the best offseason in the MLB, regardless of all the “blah blah giants are delaying their tear down” talk. Not looking beyond 2018, the Gs have the most improved roster with no competition.
Edit – maybe the angles, actually.
And, probably the oldest roster, too.
Yep. Interestingly, Dodgers are 10th oldest and Astros are 5th oldest. For what it’s worth, all of the youngest teams are also projected to be some of the worst in baseball this year. Maybe age isn’t everything?
Most of the young teams are rebuilding and developing.
As I mentioned earlier, they’re not as old as last years roster
So, Mark Melancon got $62 million and Tony Watson got $7 million…
What a difference one inning and one offseason can make.
besides the fact that Melancon is a closer and Watson a lefty setup man, their numbers are practically identical over the past several years. Giants made a great deal IMO
dynamite drop in monty
Quite an elementary deal.
The game is afoot!
They need more relievers so good sign
Good sign for the Giants
Brian Sabean took your mom to the prom and made her buy her own corsage. Pimpin ain’t easy.
Giants got Tony Watson at a steal. 3 years and only $7M guaranteed. Wish the Braves would have jumped on that.
That’s a steal of a deal for a very solid lefty in the pin. He should have gotten at least twice that. I guess Tony really wants to play for the Dodgers.
That has to be one of the best deals of the offseason thus far. What were his salary projections at the beginning of the offseason?
It’ll be interesting to see who else will get desperate enough to sign for less.
2/12 on this site. With performance bonuses, he can make that as long as he pitches 100 innings over the next 2 seasons. The third year is a player option which brings the AAV down for the CBT.
The best left handed reliever, in a market where relievers are getting top dollar, just settled for a 3 year $7 million deal.
A certain super agent might want to get a new bag of tricks. Whining and waiting doesn’t seem to work any more.
Only 3 years 7 million? I would have thought three years 6 mill a piece.
It is 2 years/$6 million with a player option that guarantees him $1 million and performance bonuses that can earn him $6 million over the first two years and that can bump his third year to $8 million. It is a good deal for both the Giants and Watson. Easy to hit performance bonuses that are not included in CBT calculations and a player option for a third year that lowers the AAV.
Ninth 3 Year Plan
Even year magic coming to fruition
this guy is as steady as they come, a real professional. He will help you guys out a lot. He was misused last year. not a closer, that’s why his era went up. great setup man. I might have to jump ship this year and become a giants fan with all the former buccos u guys have. good luck!
Im surprised teams aren’t using the player option more to bring down the average of the contract. Details haven’t been released but probably 3m, 3m, and 1m player option to keep the Giants under the Tax.
Great signing. Solidifies the back end of their bullpen and makes it very strong when Smith returns in May or June.
Two huge improvements at 3B and RF, Melancon being in the bullpen to start the year and several other additions make this a very solid team as long as they are not hit by team record injuries in 2018 like they were in 2017. Don’t be surprised if the Giants are a WC team this season.
As far as the luxury tax goes, the Giants have a 1-2 year window, so I doubt they worry about it if they believe they can be in contention.
Eppler why didn’t you pick up this bargain??? The reason we blew it in 2009 because we didn’t have lefty’s in a he pen. History tends to repeat itself.
Bullpen set. Now time to trade Hunter Strickland with Osich or Okert for a CF. We have to trade Strickland he needs to go. Bryce Harper won’t come to the Giants if we have Strickland on the roster next year. TRADE STRICKLAND FOR ANYTHING SABEAN. I would have taken Andrew Susac for Strickland.
Strickland to the Nats for cash or ptbnl. Hunter and Bryce are best friends. At least for one year they can be besties and teammates. I’ve heard mixed feelings about Bryce Harper. From being a hothead to being the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. I’ll trust Kris Bryant over any one. He seems like a believable guy. Besides Rizzo, Harper and him are best friends. I can’t see the cubs getting Harper without heyward opting out. Or trading Schwarber for a TOR pitcher. I’d rather see heyward opt out than trade Schwarber. Then maybe get Harper on a 3 year deal. 3/100mil with an opt out.
Then extending Bryant for at least 10 years. Also extending Rizzo would be great too.
this contract is more what it seems like it shoulda been after all the updates.
New contract details still keep contract in the $3m AAV range plus incentives over 3 seasons. A dramatic bargain considering the $8-10m AAV’s given early in the offseason to players with similar numbers.
Its $7m AAV
??? $7 mill AAV? Please explain
st louis missed the river queen on signing watson
He went from a playoff team to a gutter team. He’ll be traded in July.
1. He went to the most improved team in MLB this offseason. Clearly they are trying to win. Also he’s really good friends with Melancon who was a huge part of this signing.
2. Giants don’t trade people in July
Most improved? That’s cute.
Sean Ford 101
We made up 20-25 games with our improvements. I think that’s among the best