Phillies sign accomplished lefty reliever and extra bat


The Phillies have added another candidate for work in what could be a significantly revamped bullpen in 2021.

As spring training was opening on Wednesday, the team signed veteran reliever Tony Watson.

The Phillies also made official the signing of left-handed hitting infielder Brad Miller to a one-year deal. To make room for Miller on the 40-man roster, reliever Seranthony Dominguez was placed on the 60-day injured list as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Watson, who will turn 36 in May, has been one of the top left-handed relievers in the game over the last handful of seasons. He pitched in 21 games for the Giants last season and allowed just 13 hits and five earned runs while striking out 15 and walking just three in 18 innings. Left-handed hitters were 4 for 23 against him.

Watson averaged 70 appearances from 2013 to 2019. From 2013 through last season, he has an ERA of 2.65 ERA and a WHIP of 1.07.

Watson is the latest veteran to be added to the Phillies’ list of bullpen candidates by Dave Dombrowski, who joined the club as president of baseball operations in December and promised to be aggressive in revamping what was the worst bullpen in the majors last season.

Dombrowski has added Archie Bradley on a major-league free agent contract and Sam Coonrod and Jose Alvarado in trades. He also has brought in veterans Brandon Kintzler, Hector Rondon, Neftali Feliz and now Watson on minor-league deals. Kintzler was second in the NL with 12 saves for Miami last season. He will make $3 million if he makes the club. Watson will also make $3 million if he makes the club.

In addition to the newcomers, the Phillies return Hector Neris, David Hale and Connor Brogdon to the bullpen. JoJo Romero and Ranger Suarez also return and will battle for jobs and it's possible that Vince Velasquez could end up in the bullpen.

With Alvarado, Watson, Romero, Suarez and Kyle Dohy, the Phillies have several left-handers to consider in camp. 

The Phillies’ bullpen had a 7.06 ERA last year, worst in the majors. Dombrowski has added bullpen quantity this winter in hopes of finding quality and ultimately improvement.

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