One of the bigger questions in the construction of the 2021 Phillies roster was answered on Friday afternoon. At the Phillies looked to assemble the final bullpen, one of the veterans who appeared in Phillies camp has decided to opt out of their contract. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Tony Watson has opted out of his Phillies minor league deal.
The move likely comes as Watson was not guaranteed a place on the final Phillies roster. There were likely two considerations that went into this move. The first is the other available left-handed options in the Phillies bullpen. The second is likely money.
The Phillies have received very strong performances from lefties Jose Alvarado and Jojo Romero. Alvarado came over in a three-way trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers in the offseason. Romero was a Phillies draft pick who made an impressive debut in 2020.
Romero has a 1.17 ERA in seven Spring appearances, while Alvarado has a 1.35 ERA in seven appearances as well.
Meanwhile, Watson's place on the roster would cost the Phillies $3 million. If the Phillies believe in Alvarado and Romero, then they might feel comfortable saving that money for later, perhaps for a trade deadline acquisition. While depth is always good, the Phillies might have preferred to save the money.
Watson was not exactly dominant like the other two; he pitched to a 7.20 earned run average this Spring.
There is no word at this time on Brandon Kintzler, who is a strong candidate to make the Phillies bullpen.