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Phillies add another left-handed reliever as camp officially opens


Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater today and as expected, the Phillies are still rounding out their list of spring training invitees.

The Carpenter Complex in 2019. (Cheryl Pursell)

The Phillies have signed left-handed pitcher Tony Watson to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. He will earn $3 million in 2021 if he makes the big league roster, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Watson, 35, was an All-Star in 2014 who has pitched in the big leagues for ten years, splitting time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. He pitched to a 2.50 ERA with two saves in 18 innings last season with the Giants, throwing 17 scoreless outings out of 21. He gave up back-to-back home runs to Tommy Pham and Mitch Moreland in his final appearance of the season against the San Diego Padres, which turned out to be his only clunker of 2020.

He predominantly relies on his changeup (45% in 2020) and sinker (37.1%). The average velocity he gets on those two pitches isn’t great (84 and 90-mph on the changeup and sinker respectively), but he is known to get both righties and lefties out. The Iowa native holds a 2.80 career ERA.

Watson joins a crowded group of non-roster invitee relievers that includes Neftalí Feliz, Brandon Kintzler, Bryan Mitchell, Héctor Rondón, Iván Nova, and Michael Ynoa. Depending on how camp shapes up and whether Dave Dombrowski and the front office make a couple of moves to free up space on the 40-man roster, one of these names will probably be featured in the Opening Day Phillies bullpen.

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