Two years ago, the Chicago Cubs turned to relief help at the deadline – and it netted a title. This season, they hope Brandon Kintzler can help do it again.
Even after going out and acquiring Jesse Chavez and Cole Hamels from the Texas Rangers, the Chicago Cubs front office wanted more. Just ahead of Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, the club snagged 34-year-old righty Brandon Kintzler from the Washington Nationals.
Remember. In the not-so-distant past, the Cubs made a serious run at acquiring Kintzler from the Minnesota Twins. Ultimately, though, the Twins decided to deal him to the Nationals for minor leaguer Tyler Watson and international slot money.
In Washington, the right-hander pitched to a 3.54 ERA in 72 appearances. This is a guy who relies heavily on his defense – which might make him a perfect fit for the North Siders. Over his nine big league seasons, he carries a 3.30 ERA, averaging 68 appearances each year.
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One of his best seasons came in 2017, when he was an All-Star for the Twins before being shipped to the Nats. On the whole, he totaled 29 saves and 2.78 ERA in 78 appearances between the Twins and Nationals.
What does he bring to the Cubs
Kintzler is a power arm who has a fastball that can top out around 95 MPH, but regularly sits about 93 MPH. Paired with an excellent slider – when he’s ‘on’, he can do just about anything he wants.
Above all else, he provides more depth to a bullpen that has been overworked throughout the first 100-plus games of the season. Kintzler is also a proven closer who can slam the door shut on a game, and that could prove to be a tremendous asset due to the injury concerns of closer Brandon Morrow.
The former Twin will slide into a late-inning role. He will join Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr., and Morrow once he returns. In short, Kintzler will likely be put into a position where he will need to get critical outs in high leverage situations.
Despite the acquisition of Kintzler, there still are questions in the bullpen from the left-hand side. Justin Wilson has shown a recurring inability to get outs consistently, and it is yet to be seen if Randy Rosario can maintain of the quality of his work for the rest of the season.
Nevertheless, the acquisition of Brandon Kintzler is a big help. He is a proven closer, who, when right can be an elite shutdown arm which can be trusted to get key outs in crucial games. This rings true not only in the regular season, but more importantly, in the postseason.