Kintzler’s contract, signed last winter with the Nationals and traded to the Cubs at the 2018 trade deadline, included successive option clauses. The club first had a shot at a $10MM option. If that was declined — as it was, by the Chicago organization — then Kintzler got a chance to take a guaranteed $5MM salary rather than returning to free agency.
Given his struggles down the stretch, it’s no surprise that Kintzler elected to keep the money in hand. In 18 frames over 25 appearances, he coughed up 14 earned runs on 27 hits while managing just a dozen strikeouts against nine walks.
That’s not to say that there isn’t any hope of a rebound. After emerging as a late-inning presence with the Twins, Kintzler had been productive with the Nats. In his 68 2/3 frames in D.C., between the trade deadlines of the 2017 and 2018 campaigns, he worked to a 3.54 ERA. In spite of consistently marginal strikeout numbers, Kintzler’s heavy sinker has typically produced excellent groundball numbers and allowed him to avoid the long ball.