Well he isn’t Trevor Rosenthal, but the Phillies did make another addition to their bullpen on Wednesday. ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports that the team is signing RHP Brandon Kintzler to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
According to Rogers, Kintzler turned down a guaranteed deal with the Marlins to accept the minor league deal, as it gives him the chance to make more money. If Kintzler is able to make the Phillies out of Spring Training, he is destined to make at least $3 million this season with the opportunity to make $1 million more via incentives. If Kintzler is able to pitch like he has the last two seasons, he will make the team, no question.
In the last two years with the Cubs and Marlins, Kintzler has pitched to a 2.55 ERA. While he has never been a big strikeout guy (6.28 career K/9), Kintzler uses his sinker ball to induce groundballs. For his career, 56.2% of his outs are of the groundball variety. His sinker averages around 93 mph, and he relies on it almost 80% of the time. He will pair it with a slider and changeup to keep the hitters off balance, but the sinker by itself is a real weapon.
While he is signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Phillies, it feels like a lock that Kintzler makes the final roster. A $3 million guarantee is a bigger guarantee than you’ll typically see on a minor league deal. We don’t have information of the incentives available yet, but I would imagine they are based on number of appearances or number of saves. The way the deal was reported makes me believe he was given some sort of a guarantee from the front office. That would make it much easier for the Las Vegas native (who was recruited by fellow Las Vegas native Bryce Harper) to turn down a guaranteed deal, albeit for less money.
Or he could have just seen their performance last season and was confident that he could make a bullpen that produced a 7.06 ERA last season. Either way, Dombrowski is getting ready for the arms race that will be the NL East.
As for where Kintzler slots, I think I gave away that answer earlier in the article. To me, Kintzler looks in line to see the majority of action in the ninth inning for this team. With 84 career saves under his belt, Kintzler has been pitching the ninth inning dating back to 2016 with the Twins. During his best season in 2017, Kintzler finished with 29 saves between Minnesota and Washington. He is more than capable of handling the ninth inning for the Phillies, and instantly has the most experience finishing games.
While the Phillies still don’t have a true closer, Kintzler, Archie Bradley, and good ol’ Hector Neris all have experience closing out games. The Phillies’ bullpen coming into this season is lightyears ahead of where it was last year. It’s possible that Dombrowski could have another move up his sleeve, but I think that Kintzler is the last bullpen reinforcement coming.
Can’t wait until the first time Kintzler gets someone looking with that filthy sinker.