As reported by Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies have agreed to a minor league deal with free agent reliever Brandon Kintzler.
Deal if Kintzler makes the Phillies’ roster is for one year, $3M, per @JesseRogersESPN. Bryce Harper, a former teammate of Kintzler’s with the Nationals, pushed for deal to happen, Kintzler said. https://t.co/XshPXoObKF— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 10, 2021
Kintzler is a ten-year veteran, who made the All-Star Game in 2017 as the closer for the Minnesota Twins. In 2020, the right-hander served as the Marlins’ primary closer, appearing in 24 games, recording a 2.22 ERA with 12 saves, and was worth 1.2 wins above replacement. He closed out the Marlins’ first round playoff series victory over the Cubs by striking out the side in the ninth inning of the decisive game.
Kintzler said there's a lot of emotions knocking out the Cubs, his former team. "I haven't struck out the side in 9 years in the big leagues, so to strike ut the side against them is friction' hilarious." #Marlins @5ReasonsSports @LoadedBases5R— David Fernandez (@ByDLFernandez) October 2, 2020
Those strikeout-fueled heroics aside, Kintzler is more known for getting outs via the sinkerball. That might be a concern considering the Phillies’ infield defense wasn’t always stellar in 2020 and was an underrated contributor to the team’s well-publicized bullpen struggles.
It’s somewhat surprising that the Phillies were able to get an accomplished veteran on a minor league contract, even if the potential for earning more money does exist. It might just be a way for the Phillies to temporarily avoid a 40-man roster crunch.
Assuming Kintzler makes the team and can replicate his effectiveness from the past few seasons, the Phillies will have another solid option for the mid-to-late innings in 2021. The Phillies’ bullpen may still not be great next season, but its shaping up to be much better than the disaster we endured last year.