2:27pm: Righty reliever Brandon Kintzler and outfielder Matt Joyce, who also signed minors pacts, have earned roster spots, Matt Gelb of The Athletic tweets. Kintzler will make $3MM, while Joyce’s salary isn’t known yet.
Long an effective, grounder-inducing late-game option, Kintzler piled up 12 saves and recorded a 2.20 ERA over 24 1/3 frames. While the 36-year-old notched ugly strikeout and walk percentages (13.9 and 10.9, respectively), his 57.3 percent groundball mark once again helped him keep runs off the board at a quality clip.
Joyce, also 36 and Kintzler’s teammate in Miami last year, has been an on-base threat for most of his career. He slashed .252/.351/.331 with two home runs in a limited role (46 plate appearances) in 2020.
Watson, whom the Phillies signed during the winter, would have earned a somewhat hefty $3MM salary had he cracked their roster. Considering the Phillies would like to stay under the luxury-tax threshold, it’s not that surprising that they’re unwilling to pay Watson that sum – especially in light of his struggles this spring. The 35-year-old allowed four earned runs in five innings and surrendered nine hits in exhibition play, though he did total seven strikeouts against two walks. His exit leaves the Phillies with Jose Alvarado, JoJo Romero, Damon Jones and Ranger Suarez – all on the 40-man roster – as their primary southpaw relievers.
As for Watson’s next step, he should at least be able to land another minors deal somewhere, as the former Pirate, Dodger and Giant has regularly produced good results. Owner of a lifetime 2.80 ERA, Watson logged a 2.50 mark and a 3.75 SIERA over 18 innings in San Francisco last season. He also amassed 15 strikeouts against three walks, posted a 50 percent groundball rate and was tough on both lefty and righty hitters.