By Jason Shetler
A source tells DK Pittsburgh Sports that Tony Watson will be taking the Pirates to an arbitration hearing in February. The projected salary figure for Watson was $5.9 million.
Watson has been a vital part of the Pirates bullpen since he joined the team in 2011. His best season came in 2014 when he had a 1.63 ERA along with an ERA+ of 222 and was named an All-Star.
Last season, Watson was in the setup role to Mark Melancon. Two days prior to the trade deadline, the Pirates dealt Melancon to the Washington Nationals, and Watson took over as the closer. Although Watson wasn’t his dominant self in 2016, he put up a 137 ERA+, which is still well above league average. Prior to last season, Watson was considered a Top 5 lefty reliever in all of baseball, so it’s likely a situation in which he wants to receive more based on career track record.