The Phillies have agreed to a minor league pact with free-agent righty Brandon Kintzler, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports (Twitter links). The veteran reliever had a big league offer to return to the Marlins, Rogers adds, but he opted for a non-guaranteed deal with the Phillies that offers more earning potential if he makes the club: a $3MM base salary plus additional incentives. Kintzler is represented by agent Kevin Kohler.
Based on his track record and the general state of disrepair in which the Phillies’ bullpen resided over the past couple seasons, Kintzler would seem to have a good chance at cracking the roster and securing that $3MM base. The 36-year-old sinker specialist has pitched to a 2.55 ERA over the past two seasons between the Cubs and Marlins, and he’s notched a 3.15 mark or lower in four of the past five years. In that half-decade span, Kintzler has a 3.26 ERA and 3.67 SIERA with a sub-par 16.2 percent strikeout rate but an excellent 6.3 percent walk rate and similarly strong 55.4 percent grounder rate.
Kintzler will add to a late-inning relief mix that has been quickly overhauled since Dave Dombrowski was named president of baseball operations in Philadelphia. Righty Hector Neris, the team’s most frequent closer in recent years, is back for the 2021 season, but Dombrowski has added hard-throwing lefty Jose Alvarado from the Rays, signed Archie Bradley and now inked Kintzler.
If Kintzler does indeed make the club, he’ll push the Phillies north of $201MM in luxury-tax obligations. That doesn’t leave too much room for additional spending — assuming owner John Middleton aims to keep his club south of that mark — but it could leave the door open for some additional low-cost signings and/or non-roster invitees between now and Opening Day. Dombrowski has mentioned multiple times that he hopes to stockpile as much pitching depth as possible after last year’s truncated 2020 season shortened every MLB pitcher’s workload.