07/18/2008 7:50 PM -
The Philadelphia Phillies acquired T-Bones second baseman Rob Watson and outfielder Kevin Mahar late last night after the T-Bones 15-0 win over the Winnipeg Goldeyes. It is expected that both players will be sent to Clearwater in the Florida State League, the Phillies high Class A affiliate.
"It's a great opportunity for Rob and Kevin," said T-Bones manager Andy McCauley. "With the big league trade that the Phillies had yesterday, it opened up some real opportunities within the Phillies organization. They're going to Clearwater, which I believe is a little bit below both of their caliber levels. I think they have a good chance of moving up quickly in that organization and we'll just have to wait and see how they perform. They both had a real hard time making the decision because they both know they were a part of something special here. It's hard to replace guys like that but we'll have to keep our eyes open and hope some of the other guys step up in their absence."
Watson, 28, was the league's leading fielder at second base, while also leading his position peers offensively. Defensively he led all second basemen with a .990 fielding percentage, committing only three errors in 295 total chances. He was also in the middle of 46 double plays this season.
Watson has started all 55 games this season at second base for Kansas City, batting second or third in the lineup in every contest. Among active players, Watson was second in the league in hitting with a .351 average and third with 43 RBI. Watson also added eight home runs this season, matching a career high which he set last season in 95 games. He was acknowledged for his efforts by earning the vote as the starting second baseman for the I-29 All-Stars in the 2008 Northern League All-Star Game.
The second-bagger was drafted by the Detroit Tigers out of Oklahoma State University in the 17th round of the 2002 draft. He played in the Tigers system for two seasons before getting traded to the San Diego Padres organization in March of 2004.
Mahar, 27, was also named to the all-star team. He was hitting .297 and, like Watson, had played in all 55 games this season for the T-Bones. After seeing his average dip to a season low .233 on June 19, he hit safely in 14 of his next 15 games. For the month of July, Mahar has been one of the T-Bones hottest hitters, hitting .352 on the month. For the season, he has upped his average to .297. He was also second on the team among active players with nine home runs while driving in 27 runs.
Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2004 by the Texas Rangers, Mahar got called up to the major league club in just his fourth season with the organization.
Both players are expected to arrive today in Clearwater for physicals before joining the Clearwater Threshers. Mahar and Watson are the second and third T-Bones to be signed by a major league organization during the 2008 season.