The Chicago Cubs acquired reliever Brandon Kintzler right before the deadline Tuesday. While he may not be flashy, he adds quality depth in the bullpen.
Theo Epstein got another arm to add to his staff as the Chicago Cubs traded for veteran righty Brandon Kintzler from the Nationals. Kintzler, 33, has been an MLB reliever since 2010 and served as the Minnesota Twins closer last year before being traded to Washington. He has a career 3.30 ERA, 1.245 WHIP and 3.55 FIP in 349 1/3 innings.
The Cubs will be sending minor league pitcher Jhon Romero to the Nationals per Carrie Muskat. Romero, 23, was pitching with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and posted a 3.27 ERA and 1.295 WHIP in 27 games. That is the only piece the Cubs are giving up in the deal.
Kintzler has a club option in 2019 and will not be an unrestricted free agent until 2021, giving Chicago some control if they so desire.
What Kintzler brings in the short term
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This season, Kintzler carries a 3.59 ERA, 1.242 WHIP and 3.44 FIP in 42 2/3 innings pitched. He does not strike guys out, as he only has a 6.54 K/9 this season.
He is averaging 2.74 walks per nine – a bit higher than his career mark of 2.27 BB/9. Expect a lot of balls on the ground, evidenced by his 48 percent ground ball rate this season – and 56.6 percent rate in his career.
This could bode well with the superb infield defense the Cubs have. It is also worth noting he has given up only two home runs this season.
He has not been in many save-situations this year, but having been a former closer, he has the experience to work as one if needed. This could be useful to have considering Brandon Morrow has seen the disabled list twice this year. Kintzler has 48 career saves and his 29 last year marked a career-high.
Overall this is a solid depth move by the Chicago Cubs. Kintzler brings another veteran arm to the bullpen that can fill in spots late in games. A team can never have enough arms, especially when making a postseason run and having a staff that has worked very hard. Having solid guys like Kintzler can go a long way, even when they do not light the world on fire.