After news came out late Tuesday night that the Cubs had declined their $10 million option on reliever Brandon Kintzler, it was widely assumed that he’d exercise his own $5 million option. And that’s exactly what he’ll be doing, as first reported by ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.
Cubs news: Not a surprise, reliever Brandon Kintzler will be exercising his $5 million player option for 2019 after the Cubs declined a $10 million team option on him for next season, per a source.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) October 31, 2018
Kintzler came to the Cubs in a late-season trade as part of the Nationals’ garage sale, ostensibly because GM Mike Rizzo thought the reliever was a media snitch. Over 18 innings with the Cubs, the 34-year-old righty compiled a 7.00 ERA (5.66 FIP) with a 2.00 WHIP and 12 strikeouts to nine walks. He also allowed three home runs in that time.
His fastball velocity and groundball percentages were actually up a bit following the trade, but that clearly didn’t correlate to result. Though you don’t usually pitchers in their mid-30’s to experience some kind of rebirth, it’s entirely possible Kintzler at least returns to his Nationals form of around a 3.50 ERA, a sub-4.00 FIP, and 0.5 HR/9.
And if he’s able to make 70+ appearances with those numbers, the salary isn’t such a bad deal. So let’s hope for that.