The Mets are one of many teams to have checked in on veteran southpaw Tony Watson, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (via Twitter). The only southpaws currently projected for the Mets’ Major League roster are Chasen Shreve and Alex Claudio, both of whom joined the club as non-roster invitees. Joey Lucchesi might at some point join them, but the former starter underwent Tommy John surgery in June, and he won’t be ready at the start of the year.
The Mets have one of the more improved rosters of the offseason, but Watson would fill one of their few remaining holes. The 36-year-old has quietly been one of the more consistent lefty relievers in the game over the last decade. He debuted with the Pirates way back in 2011, spending seven seasons with the Buccos. All these years later, Watson is still, in a way, contributing in Pittsburgh. He was dealt to the Dodgers at the 2017 trade deadline for Angel German and Oneil Cruz, the latter of whom is pushing his way to the Majors. Cruz has big-game power, and he is one of Pittsburgh’s most promising prospects, as well as being one of the more distinctive young players in the game.
For Watson himself, he moved on from the Dodgers after a half season, Watson signing with the Giants and spending three successful seasons in the bay. After half a year with the Angels, the Giants re-acquired Watson at last year’s trade deadline. For his career, Watson has never had a full season ERA higher than 4.17, and he’s made between 60 and 78 appearances in every season since 2012, except for the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.
A number of teams have understandably checked in on Watson. It wouldn’t be surprising if almost every contender in the league had checked in on Watson, given his sure-to-be reasonable contract demands. Watson made $1MM last season, and he only once earned a yearly salary higher than $3.5MM. Even for non-contenders, Watson could draw interest as an eventual trade asset, though Watson himself would presumably prefer to choose his own contender at this juncture.
The veteran Watson is the top available bullpen lefty available on the free agent market. This deep into the offseason, few options remain. Fernando Abad, Hector Santiago, and Ross Detwiler are the other options available who spent appreciable time on a Major League roster last season. Watson is easily the most accomplished of the four.