Tony Watson RP PIT 10 Days

Watson, who has struck out seven in five scoreless spring innings, projects as Pittsburgh's primary set-up man once again in 2015.

Armed with an electric fastball (94.4 mph) and slider, the lefty gives Pittsburgh a solid late-inning reliever's duo with Mark Melancon. It's probable that save opportunities fall to him if anything happens to Melancon, but manager Clint Hurdle said last summer that he could continue using Watson in high-leverage spots with someone else getting the final three outs. The southpaw, who is working on a tighter-breaking slider this spring, has outpitched his FIP (3.39) with a better earned-run average (2.63) in each of his four big-league seasons.

Tony Watson RP PIT 2 Months

Watson agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Pirates on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Tom Singer of MLB.com reports.

Watson seamlessly transitioned into the eighth-inning role after Mark Melancon took over as the Pirates' closer for good in June, finishing with a 1.63 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 34 holds, second most in all of baseball. He'll receive a nice raise in salary in his first year arbitration, and will likely be among the first five setup men off the board in deeper mixed drafts this spring.

Tony Watson RP PIT 4 Months

Watson was tendered a contract prior to Tuesday's deadline.

The southpaw exceeded expectations early on in 2014, but cooled off a bit in the second half -- perhaps because of over-usage in a faltering bullpen. Watson picked up 10 relief wins, compiling a 1.63 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 77.1 IP. He could slide into a closer's role in 2015 if Mark Melancon gets hurt, though the team likes him as its primary set-up man.

Tony Watson RP PIT 6 Months

Watson recorded his second save of the season Tuesday, pitching a scoreless ninth inning while allowing one hit and recording one strikeout against the Braves.

He was used Sunday when Mark Melancon was unavailable after being used in three straight games, but Melancon was used again to pick up the save Monday, so it seems like manager Clint Hurdle is simply trying to even out the workload for his two best relievers as the Pirates gear up for a playoff run. At this point, both pitchers could be options for saves down the stretch, but Melancon remains the more likely candidate to take the ball in the ninth inning.

Tony Watson RP PIT 6 Months

Watson allowed two singles and hit one batter but earned his first save of the season Sunday in a scoreless inning.

With closer Mark Melancon out after pitching in three straight games, Watson got the ninth-inning call. The lefty, who ranks second in the NL with 33 holds, upped his velocity and hit 97 mph on the radar gun. He could take over as Pittsburgh's closer in 2015 if anything happens to Melancon.

Tony Watson RP PIT 7 Months

Watson will be unavailable out of the bullpen Sunday, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports.

Both Watson and closer Mark Melancon pitched two innings Saturday, and although Melancon's status is uncertain, Watson has been ruled out. If Melancon is ultimately deemed unavailable as well, look for John Axford to potentially vulture a save opportunity.

Tony Watson RP PIT 7 Months

Watson picked up his 10th win of the season, allowing one hit and recording just one out in the Pirates' win over Cincinnati on Friday night.

In a league counting holds he is golden and contributes a sparkling 1.72 ERA. The 10 wins are a huge bonus so his owners have to be pleased with his incredible season.

Tony Watson RP PIT Mar 31 '79

Tony Watson notched a six-out save in Thursday's win over the Reds.

It was his second career save, both of them coming this season. Watson struck out one and didn't allow a hit or a walk. Jason Grilli was unavailable after pitching the previous two days (including his first blown save on Wednesday), but he should be ready for Friday's series opener against the Angels.

Tony Watson RP PIT Feb 03 '79

With both Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon unavailable, Tony Watson nailed down his first career save Thursday, giving up one run over two innings in a win over the Phillies.

Watson allowed a hit and a run in the eighth and a leadoff double in the ninth, but he then retired three straight to close out the two-run victory. The southpaw has a 3.00 ERA and 0.83 WHIP for the season and appears to be third in line for saves in Pittsburgh.

Tony Watson RP PIT Dec 29 '78

Making his first appearance in three weeks, Tony Watson gave up three runs in an inning Wednesday against the Braves.

Watson figured to be a lock for the Pirates pen after finishing with a 3.38 ERA in 53 1/3 innings as a lefty specialist last year, but he's dealing with some largely undisclsed issues right now and he's given up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings this spring. He does have an option remaining, so the Pirates may choose to send him him down until he gets things sorted out.