In an effort to bolster their bullpen, the Toronto Blue Jays should consider Twins’ reliever, Brandon Kintzler as a trade target
It’s that time of year; the time where we look ahead to the July 31st Trade Deadline in the hopes that the Toronto Blue Jays will make some moves to solidify their roster for a playoff run. It happened last year in spades. It took our heads a long time to stop spinning after Alex Anthopoulos shocked the baseball world.
This year, we should not expect such a roster overhaul. It would be silly. Frankly, the Blue Jays don’t need it. But, they do need some pieces to put them over the hump. One (or more) of the pieces they need is a bullpen arm. Granted, a lot of this feeling of need comes from the early part of the season where arm after arm blew lead after lead. It’s left very little confidence in the group of relievers currently housed beyond the LF wall. We know just how valuable a bullpen can be when you’re trying to win a division…and maybe more. It is for that reason, the Toronto Blue Jays should look for pieces to stock the ‘pen. One of those pieces should be Brandon Kintzler.
Kintzler is a 31 yr old former Brewer who is now pitching for the lowly Minnesota Twins. That is one factor in the favor of the Blue Jays. The Twins will definitely be in a position to sell at the deadline, which makes them an obvious potential partner. Here’s another thing in their favor: he is making just over $1M this season and is not eligible to become a free agent until 2018. That is more than a year’s worth of team control at a very manageable price. The obvious question is why the Twins would be willing to part with that. But, at this time of year, selling ‘older’ pieces for younger is just how things are done. For the right return, they could be convinced.
And that is what is great about Kintzler is that the package required may not be so big. He’s 31 yrs old and has had just 179.6 total innings since 2010 with the Brewers. His 26 innings with the Twins this year bring his total major league time to just over 205 innings…for his career. He is not one of the bigger names out there.
Take a look at his career numbers. They don’t exactly scream high prospect package.
|162 Game Avg.||3||3||.526||3.26||68||17||2||71||70||29||26||7||18||52||122||3.76||1.242|
But, that doesn’t mean that there is not value there. Over at MLBTR, Jeff Todd suggests that Kintzler could be an “under the radar” trade piece in the coming weeks. Todd refers to a couple of factors that make him desirable. Firstly, Kintzler has great command. According to Fangraphs, his walk rate this season is just 2%. As well, he is throwing a lot of groundballs. Right now, his rate is up to 64.2%. Both of these factors would make him an ideal fit in the Blue Jays bullpen. He can be the guy who comes in, throws strikes and can induce a timely groundball double play. He’s also left 82.5% on base this year. With the defense that the Blue Jays run out there every night, a ground ball pitcher would be ideal. It would be a nice match.
If you want to learn more about Kintzler, take a look at this excellent profile of him by Patrick Reusse of The Star Tribune. In it, you’ll learn how the San Diego Padres basically gave up on Kintzler and how he struggled to make it all the way to the Twins’ closer. It’s the kind of story that’ll make you root for the guy, trade or not.
Now, the Negative Nellys will say that the above is from a small sample size of 26 innings, which is true. But, the Twins feel confident enough (or have very few other options) to move him into their closer’s role. One might also point to his HR/FB rate of 21%. That works out to 4 dingers in his 26 innings. That could scare some folks, given Rogers Centre’s penchant for home runs allowed. As well, while his ERA sits at a very attractive 2.42, his FIP is less so: 4.29. If one were to make an offer for Kintzler, these might be some numbers to throw out there to keep the asking price down.
The Blue Jays, though, aren’t looking for a closer. They’re looking for consistency and effectiveness in late innings. Right now, they do not have that, at least not as much as
they’d we’d like. Kintzler could be a very cost effective bullpen arm to target at the Trade Deadline. He’s seeing success currently and won’t cost a lot in prospect capital. This just might be the kind of arm the Toronto Blue Jays target this July. They’ll have to get creative in how they bolster their club. The Blue Jays may not be able to set their sights high for bullpen help. They may have to be more realistic. Kintzler would be one of the products of creative, realistic trading.
*Featured Image Credit: Joel Dinda UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.