Giants southpaw Tony Watson has been diagnosed with a slight fracture in the wrist of his pitching hand, per a club announcement (via MLB.com’s Maria Guardado, on Twitter). He’ll be sidelined for at least ten days, with the remainder of his season in jeopardy.
With the San Francisco organization falling precipitously in the standings, it’s no big deal to go without Watson the rest of the way. That said, it’s still a suboptimal development — particularly given that it’s the latest in a run of changes to what was once a high-quality relief unit.
Watson, 34, has thrown 54 innings of 4.33 ERA ball this year, with 6.8 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9. His 12.7% swinging-strike rate is right in the same range it usually is, as is his 93.5 mph average heater.
If there’s an oddity to Watson’s season statistics, it’s his struggles against lefties. While he has never been a pure LOOGY, Watson has historically performed better when facing same-handed hitters. This year, opposing southpaw swingers have tuned him up for a .359/.414/.500 slash — though that’s only a 71-batter sample.
The injury will not have an impact on earnings, at least directly. Watson’s unusually structured contract included loads of bonuses, topping out at his 55th appearance. Having already reached that mark, he’s slated to take home an extra $4MM on top of his $6.5MM base salary (itself boosted by his effort in 2018).
Ending the campaign on the injured list could conceivably increase the allure of the $2.5MM player option that Watson holds, though it still seems reasonably likely he’ll instead take a $500K buyout and re-test free agency. He might have boosted his open-market stock with a strong final month, though Watson does have a long track record to stand on.