The Phillies have added an experienced late-game reliever to their list of bullpen candidates.
Brandon Kintzler has agreed to a minor-league contract with the club, sources confirmed. The 36-year-old right-hander led the Miami Marlins with 12 saves last year and recorded a career-high 29 while pitching for the Minnesota Twins and Washington Nationals in 2017.
Based on his track record, Kintzler, who was an All-Star with the Twins in 2017, stands a good chance to earn a spot in the Phillies' season-opening bullpen. He is one of a handful of relievers added by the club since Dave Dombrowski was hired as president of baseball operations in December.
Dombrowski's signature bullpen move was signing free agent Archie Bradley. In addition, Dombrowski has traded for Jose Alvarado and Sam Coonrod. He's also added veterans Neftali Feliz, Hector Rondon, Michael Ynoa, David Paulino and others, including Kintzler, on minor-league deals.
The Phillies had the worst bullpen in the majors in 2020. The team lost 21 games in which it had held a lead at one point, most in the majors, and the bullpen finished with a 7.06 ERA.
Hector Neris returns to the bullpen in 2021 and Connor Brogdon, based on his work in 2020, could hold down a spot. After that, the Phillies' bullpen could have a bunch of newcomers in 2021.
Despite striking out just 14 batters and walking 11 in 24⅓ innings for Miami last year, Kintzler pitched to a 2.22 ERA and helped the Marlins make the expanded postseason field in 2020.
Kintzler was open in talking about how the Marlins, who had been ravaged by COVID-19 early in the season, drew inspiration from a trip to Philadelphia. While in the clubhouse, Marlins players heard NBC Sports Philadelphia pre- and post-game analyst Ricky Bottalico call them "bottom feeders." It became a rallying cry for the Marlins, who overtook the Phillies in the standings during the final days of the season. They even had the phrase printed on T-shirts.
Maybe Kintzler has an extra one in his duffel bag for Ricky Bo.
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