By Jason Shetler
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports has reported that Tony Watson is switching to a new agent, and that agent is Scott Boras.
Watson is now the second Pirates player to be represented by Boras, the other being Gerrit Cole. Not too long ago, Watson had been one of the better lefty relievers in the National League. 2016 was a down year for him, as he posted a 3.06 ERA, but had a Fielding Independent Pitching of 4.37 and allowed a career high 10 home runs in 70 appearances.
In February, Watson took the Pirates to an arbitration hearing, after being unable to come to a salary agreement. The Pirates offered $5.6 million, while Watson wanted $6 million. Watson lost his case, and had to settle for the Pirates figure.
In his first full season as the Bucs closer, Watson is posting an ERA of 3.06. However, he has a much higher FIP of 5.47 and the velocity has been declining. His sinker velocity is 92.3 mph, which was at 93.2 mph last season, while he has an 83.7 mph slider velocity, lower than the 85.7 mph mark he put up a year ago. For most of his big league career, Watson has thrown a very good changeup, but that pitch has been below average so far this season according to FanGraphs’ Pitch Values.
Assuming the Pirates are in seller mode at the trade deadline, the value on Watson probably isn’t going to be as high than it was during this past offseason. A team that acquires Watson most likely wouldn’t use him as the closer, so that would certainly affect his free agent status after the season, regardless of having Boras as his agent.