Former Pirates left-handed reliever and 11-year Major League veteran Tony Watson told The Athletic that he is retiring. He retires as Major League Baseball’s career leader in holds.
LHP Tony Watson tells @TheAthletic he’s retiring after 11 MLB seasons. Watson is MLB’s career leader in holds, with 246. He was a 2014 All-Star and had a 2.90 career ERA in 689 appearances as a reliever for the Pirates, Giants, Dodgers and Angels.
— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) April 18, 2022
Watson spent seven seasons in Pittsburgh from 2011-17. He was drafted in the ninth round of the 2007 MLB draft by the Pirates. In 450 career games with the Bucs, Watson went 31-16 with a 2.68 ERA and 30 saves. Watson’s best year came in 2014, when he was named a National League All-Star and finished the year 10-2 with a 1.63 ERA in a league-leading 78 games.
It was at the trade deadline in 2017 when the Pirates traded Watson to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Pirates acquired two players in return — right-handed pitcher Angel German and shortstop Oneil Cruz. Of course now, the Pirates are enjoying the return that Watson netted them, as Cruz has since emerged as one of the top prospects in all of baseball. The trade is already one of the best in Neal Huntington’s tenure as general manager of the Pirates, and if Cruz can live up to his expectations, the deal has the chance to be a monumental move in franchise history.
As for Watson, he finished 2017 with the Dodgers, before pitching four years with the Giants and a brief stint with the Angels. He leaves the game with a career 2.90 ERA and a 47-29 record in just shy of 700 appearances.