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Should the Cubs re-sign Brandon Kintzler?

The righthander had a solid season in 2019.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The only reason Brandon Kintzler was even on the Cubs’ roster in 2019 is that the team had inherited his contract when they acquired him from the Nationals July 31, 2018. That contract included a $5 million player option for 2019, and it was obvious after Kintzler had a horrendous two months with the Cubs in 2018 (25 appearances, 7.00 ERA, 2.000 WHIP, -0.5 bWAR) that he would exercise that option and the Cubs would be “stuck” with him. I would guess that had that option not existed, Kintzler would at best have gotten a minor-league deal and an invitation to spring training.

Some, myself included, thought this contract wouldn’t work out for the Cubs in 2019.

I was happy to be wrong about that. Kintzler put together a very good 2019 season: 2.68 ERA, 1.018 WHIP, an excellent walk rate of 2.1 per nine innings and was worth 1.7 bWAR, perfectly suitable for a middle reliever and well worth the money.

Kintzler also spent some time on the injured list in August with what was described as a “right pectoral inflammation” and after his return wasn’t nearly as effective. Over his final 13 appearances: 4.22 ERA, 1.500 WHIP and at one point in September he didn’t pitch for 15 days, hinting he might not have been fully recovered from that injury.

Kintzler has had himself a pretty good career for a guy who was a 40th-round pick (Padres, 2004). He was released after two years in the San Diego system, was out of baseball in 2006, then played two years in indy ball (Winnipeg, Northern League) before the Brewers signed him in July 2009. He had several decent years for Milwaukee before signing with the Twins as a free agent before the 2016 season, where he pitched well enough to be named an A.L. All-Star in 2017, just before he was traded to the Nationals at the trading deadline that year.

Kintzler is 35; he turns 36 in August 2020. Despite the good year, I think the Cubs should pass on re-signing him. The Cubs need to have more guys who can throw 95+ in their bullpen, as that seems to be the trend for modern bullpens, and Kintzler can’t do that.

The guy they traded to acquire him, Jhon Romero, didn’t pitch well and spent most of 2019 on the minor-league injured list.

In my view, the Cubs should thank Kintzler for his good season and wish him well elsewhere.


Brandon Kintzler...

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Re-sign him
    (266 votes)
  • 62%
    Let him go
    (441 votes)
707 votes total Vote Now