MIAMI - The Nationals have pulled off a deadline deal for the Twins’ Brandon Kintzler, adding another late-inning arm to their reconfigured bullpen for the season’s final two months, according to a source familiar with the trade.
In exchange for Kintzler, who converted 28-of-32 save opportunities with a 2.78 ERA this year, the Nationals are sending Single-A left-handed pitcher Tyler Watson to Minnesota, according to the source.
Kintzler takes over ninth-inning duties for the Nationals remains to be seen, but in acquiring the veteran right-hander – he turns 33 on Tuesday – general manager Mike Rizzo has completed a midsummer makeover of what had been the majors’ least effective bullpen through the season’s first half. Two weeks ago, Rizzo acquired Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the Athletics for reliever Blake Treinen and two prospects.
What a change the Nats have seen in the last few weeks. Just 3 weeks ago the Nats bullpen was in complete shambles. The worst pen in the big leagues. No lead was safe. A 1 run game was a loss, a 2 run game was a butt-clencher, and a 3 run lead was a toss up. And then Rizzo got on the horn and traded for Madson and Doolittle.
In 5 innings with the Nats, Madson has been nearly perfect- allowing 3 hits and 0 runs.
Doolittle hasn’t been as pristine- he had one bad outing where he gave up 3 ERs in an inning, but he has converted 3 saves since being traded to the Nats.
And now that bullpen adds Kintzler who has 28 saves this year for the Twins with a 2.78 ERA. Not a bad 1-2-3 punch on the back end of the pen, and especially compared to what it was last month, this is a freaking miracle. (And compare it to when we traded for Papelbon, this might as well be the moon landing.)