Bryce Harper helps Phillies snag closer from Marlins

Brandon Kintzler #27 of the Miami Marlins (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Brandon Kintzler #27 of the Miami Marlins (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Amid news on Wednesday that the Philadelphia Phillies officially re-signed shortstop Didi Gregorius to a two-year deal — following a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals — the club also made an intriguing bullpen addition.

Bryce Harper helps the Phillies land an intriguing back end bullpen option.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, right-handed reliever Brandon Kintzler agreed to a minor-league deal with the Phillies, despite receiving a guaranteed, big-league deal to re-sign with the Miami Marlins.

Kintzler is a friend, fellow Las Vegas native, and former teammate of Bryce Harper with the Washington Nationals. The six-time All-Star outfielder was very influential in Kintzler’s deal coming to fruition. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Harper “was in Kintzler’s ear” and recruiting for the Phillies.

The 11-year veteran reportedly turned down the Marlins’ $2 million offer for the chance to earn more money in Philadelphia. If he makes the team, he will get $3 million, plus an additional $1 million in incentives. The 36-year-old had his $4 million club option with the Marlins declined at the onset of the offseason. He will get the chance to make the same amount in red pinstripes in 2021.

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A 40th-round draft pick in the 2003 and 2004 drafts, Kintzler has gone 22-23 with a 3.31 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, and 313-121 strikeouts-to-walks ratio through 454 career appearances, 161 games finished, and 61 saves in 84 opportunities. In 2017, the right-hander was named an All-Star, starting the season going 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA through 45 appearances with the Minnesota Twins, before he was traded to the Twins at the trade deadline.

This past season, Kintzler recorded the second-most saves in the National League (12), and was influential in helping the Marlins achieve a long-awaited postseason berth. He blew just two of his 14 saves opportunities. In the postsesaon, Kintzler threw a combined three scoreless innings, striking out five of his 12 batters faced.

If Kintzler makes the Phillies’ big-league roster, he will join a crowded back end of the bullpen that also has Hector Neris, Archie Bradley, and Jose Alvarado. This would only be a good problem to have for manager Joe Girardi and new pitching coach Caleb Cotham.

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