Phillies sign Watson, Miller as spring training begins

Brad Miller Phillies
Brad Miller is back with the Phillies on a one-year deal.
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

As pitchers and catchers reported to Clearwater, FL for the start of spring training, the Philadelphia Phillies made a pair of signings, bringing on veteran reliever Tony Watson and infielder Brad Miller on Wednesday.

Watson agreed to a minor-league deal but received an invitation to major-league camp this spring. Should he make the team, he’ll make $3 million in 2021.

The 35-year-old southpaw has been a generally reliable reliever over the last decade, accruing a career 2.80 ERA with a WHIP of 1.090 while posting an average of eight strikeouts per nine innings with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants.

Last season with the Giants, Watson shook off a difficult 2019 season where he posted a career-worst 4.17 ERA in 60 games to go 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 21 outings (18 innings pitched) with a minuscule 0.889 WHIP while striking out 15.

He’s projected to provide another reliable option for a Phillies bullpen that is trying to head in a new direction following a dreadful 2020 season in which they became just the third unit in MLB history to have a collective ERA over 7.00.

Since Dave Dombrowski arrived as the president of baseball operations back in December, the Phillies have signed Archie Bradley and traded for Jose Alvarado while bringing in Brandon Kintzler, Hector Rondon, and Neftali Feliz on non-guaranteed deals.

The infielder Miller was given a major-league deal worth $3.5 million where he will immediately bolster the depth on an otherwise thin Phillies bench.

The 31-year-old is capable of playing first, second, and shortstop as he’s adopted the role of super-utility infielder during his eight-year career.

He spent 66 games with the Phillies in 2019, providing a considerable boost with a .941 OPS with 12 home runs and 21 RBI.

Spending 2020 with the St. Louis Cardinals, Miller’s OPS was still a respectable .807 in 49 games with seven home runs and 25 RBI.

He won’t be short of chances to get at-bats as Scott Kingery is the only other bench player capable of backing up Didi Gregorius or Jean Segura.

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