Source: Dodgers net lefty Watson from Bucs

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LOS ANGELES — The best team in baseball moved to get marginally better on Monday when the Dodgers acquired Pirates reliever Tony Watson and Reds southpaw Tony Cingrani prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, according to a baseball source. None of the clubs have confirmed the reports.

Watson, 32, is the Pirates’ former closer in his seventh MLB season and he is eligible for free agency after this season. He has 10 saves but also a 3.66 ERA, the highest since his 2011 rookie season. A 1.521 WHIP is the highest of his career and lefties are hitting .303 against him.

The 28-year-old Cingrani is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in 23.1 innings with 24 strikeouts over 25 games.

Despite possessing the best record in baseball and a runaway lead toward their fifth consecutive division, the Dodgers further bolstered the bullpen in a strategy they hope gets them to the World Series. This is the second season that management has deployed a trend-setting game plan of compensating for short starts with multiple hard-throwing relievers.

The Dodgers currently carry left-handed relievers Luis Avilan, acquired at the Deadline two summers ago with Alex Wood, and Edward Paredes, who spent 11 years in the Minor Leagues before his first callup last week. Adam Liberatore has been on the disabled list twice with elbow issues and isn’t returning any time soon. Grant Dayton is on the disabled list for the third time (none involving his arm) this year. The season started with the left-handed Wood in the bullpen, but he’s turned into an All-Star starter.

That said, the Dodgers were determined not to trade their two top prospects as ranked by MLBPipeline.com, pitcher Walker Buehler and outfielder Alex Verdugo, and apparently their next two prospects, pitcher Yadier Alvarez and infielder Willie Calhoun, weren’t enough to land any of the Dodgers’ front-line targets.

Those targets were rumored to be topped by lefty relievers Zack Britton and Justin Wilson, and starters Yu Darvish or Sonny Gray.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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