The Phillies have released reliever Brandon Kintzler, according to the MLB.com transactions tracker. That was the anticipated outcome after the veteran right-hander was designated for assignment over the weekend. Kintzler has well over five years of MLB service time, so he’d have had the right to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency while retaining the remainder of his salary. With that in mind, the Phils evidently just decided to place him on release waivers. Once he clears, Kintzler will be free to sign anywhere of his choosing.
Kintzler was non-tendered by the Marlins over the winter despite a productive 2020 campaign serving as Miami’s closer. The 37-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Phillies that came with a $3MM base salary if he made the club out of Spring Training. He bet on himself, turning down guaranteed deals that would’ve come with a lower salary and ultimately made good on that decision, earning a season-opening spot in the Phils bullpen.
While Kintzler has generally been a productive reliever over the course of his career, that hasn’t been the case so far in 2021. The sinkerballer managed just a 6.37 ERA across 29 2/3 innings in Philadelphia. Kintzler’s still racking up grounders at a very high clip (58.2%), but he’s nevertheless been tagged for seven home runs.
That’s the result of a exceptionally high 29.2% HR/FB rate that’s more than double Kintzler’s career mark of 13.2%. Given his generally solid track record, Kintzler should find interest from other clubs on minor league arrangements. If a few more batted balls die in the outfield grass as opposed to clearing the fences, it’s possible he could bounce back towards his more typically steady form.