With a name like North Shore Nine, you would expect the main focus to be on the players, and for the most part, it usually is. For the second straight day, we’re going to take a look well beyond the players and into the front office though. Yesterday, I covered the Pirates hiring former Red Sox scout Justin Horowitz as the new Director of Amateur Scouting. Today, we’re going to have a look at another front office hiring that will be of interest to Pirates fans. This one taking place with a different organization, unfortunately. This week, the Tampa Bay Rays hired former Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson to a position in their player development department.
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The Rays hired Tony Watson for a job in their player development department, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Watson will be working under director of pitching Winston Doom. A veteran of 11 big league seasons from 2011-21, Watson retired in 2022 due to shoulder problems, and the 38-year-old is now moving into a new stage of his baseball career.
Working with the Rays is certainly a good opportunity for Watson, as the organization is long known as one of the best developers of talent in all of baseball. They are coming off a season in which they won 99 games, finished second in the American League East, and were beaten in the AL wild card round by the Texas Rangers.
First and foremost, congratulations to Tony Watson. I always loved him as a Pirate and am happy to see that he will be continuing on with a career in baseball. I would much rather see the Pirates pursuing these talented former players to help with a player development department that from the outside seems to be less than optimal. Neil has hit on this point a couple of times, but most recently he hit on specifically the pitching development in his piece about Johan Oviedo’s elbow issues. The idea of Tony Watson helping shape the careers of the system’s up-and-coming pitchers doesn’t sound too bad to me. Especially when you consider how many strong pitching prospects currently reside in the system.