What would a trade between the Pirates and Rays for Tony Watson look like?
According to a recent tweet by Ken Rosenthal, it looks like the Tampa Bay Rays may be interested in trading for Pirates reliever Tony Watson.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 17, 2017
Why are the Rays Interested in Tony Watson?
The Rays are currently three games out of first place in the American League East and are holding down the top wild card spot. It goes without saying that they are going to be buyers because they are in the thick of the playoff hunt and should be for the remainder of the season. The trade over the weekend made between the Nationals and A’s with the Nationals getting Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, was the first domino to fall in the trade market for relievers. They have seen some turnover in their bullpen by Designating for Assignment Jumbo Diaz yesterday. Diaz was someone they relied on quite a bit while he was in the Ray’s pen although he didn’t perform too well.
It stands to reason that they would be looking to Watson to solidify the pen and improve upon their being 13th in the American League and 27th in Major League Baseball.
What Would the Pirates Expect in Return for Tony Watson?
This is the $64,000 question for Pirates fans. If the Pirates were to part with Watson they would not be exactly selling high. Watson’s numbers have not been good this season even after his demotion from the closer role. He has a WHIP of 1.49 and his other peripheral statistics are not pretty either. On the positive side, the Rays are desperate because their pen is a mess and at the very least they want to stay as the top wild card team if not win their division outright. The final issue to consider is his contract status. Watson will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Taking all of these factors into consideration it would surprise me if in return for Watson the Pirates got a lot of value out of the trade. It would most likely be one reclamation project for another. Although as a Pirates fan, I would be happy to be wrong.