Kintzler's two-year deal with Nats official
Reliever's contract contains club/player option for '19
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals believe Brandon Kintzler had offers on the free-agent market to sign elsewhere and become a closer. But general manager Mike Rizzo saw Kintzler's decision to return to Washington as proof that the right-hander valued the chance to play in the postseason again for a likely World Series contender.
The Nationals officially agreed to terms with Kintzler on a two-year contract -- which includes a club/player option in the second year -- on Thursday. The Nats will return the bullpen trio that was so successful at end the season, with Kintzler rejoining Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson.
"He's an ultimate pro," Rizzo said of Kintzler. "He fit into the clubhouse perfectly. He's a guy who's got a durable arm. Really no situation fazes him. He's a guy who came from very humble roots to the All-Star Game, which impresses me and makes me think there's still a hunger there that he wants to get better and improve. I just like the way he goes after it. He has no fear, and no situation is too big for him."
Kintzler is likely to slot back into the setup role in the seventh inning behind Doolittle and Madson, a role he settled into after being traded midseason from Minnesota to Washington. He made the American League All-Star team with the Twins after posting a 2.78 ERA and 28 saves. The Nats knew they could not offer him the sort of prominent role that other teams might be able to, but they would be able to offer him a chance at a postseason spot.
With the back-end trio returning and the team counting on healthy seasons from right-handers Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley to go along with left-handers Sammy Solis and Enny Romero, Rizzo said he feels confident in his bullpen. The Nationals like the depth in their relievers and are unlikely to make another major move in the bullpen.
"We feel good about it. We like the back three and the front five," Rizzo said. "We've got a lot of different looks in the bullpen. We've got a lot of hard throwers, a lot of guys who can strike people out. We've got a lot of guys that have had a year more experience under their belts. We feel good about it."