Kintzler blew his first save Thursday against the Astros as he allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in the ninth inning. Manager Dusty Baker has suggested that he would like to use Kintzler in save situations when Sean Doolittle is unavailable in part to help Kintzler reach the 30-save milestone. The spirit is admirable, but Kintzler was unable to capitalize on it Thursday night, as he turned a 3-1 lead into a 3-3 tie. The Nationals managed to come back and win in 11, and Kintzler still has a fine 2.25 ERA since the trade, so don't expect this rough outing to keep Baker away from using Kintzler in high-leverage situations.
Kintzler may see a couple of save chances for Washington before the end of the season, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post reports. Since the team revamped its bullpen at the trade deadline, Kintzler has been working the seventh inning ahead of Ryan Madson and closer Sean Doolittle. However, manager Dusty Baker suggested Friday that Kintzler would be his choice to close should Doolittle be unavailable at some point, as much due to a pending personal milestone for the former Twin as his performance. "When Doolittle is not available to close, I'd like to get Kintzler...two more saves for 30," Baker said. "So I plan on getting that before the year ends." Doolittle remains the primary target in Washington for fantasy GMs looking for saves, but Kintzler may not be completely out of the picture either.
The Twins traded Kintzler to the Nationals on Monday, The Washington Post reports. Minnesota will receive minor-league pitcher Tyler Watson in the deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Despite a pedestrian strikeout rate, Kintzler has been steady as the Twins' closer for the better part of two seasons, converting 45 of 52 save opportunities during that time. While the Nationals have been desperate for back-end bullpen help for much of the season, their need was mitigated earlier in July with the acquisitions of Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, who profile as more likely closing options. With Kintzler expected to step into a setup role for his new team, he'll lose nearly all of his fantasy appeal, as his poor ratios won't be able to offset the loss of save opportunities.
Trade interest in Kintzler has been high in the last 24 hours, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports. The groundball arm has improved his velocity over time, becoming a capable back-end bullpen weapon who's earned the Twins' closer job and compiled 45 saves in the last two seasons. His increased giddy-up hasn't helped build up his K/9, though, as it stands at a tepid 5.4. It's likely he'd lose save chances if traded to a contender, though perhaps the Nationals would place him in at least a timeshare. If the Twins ship him out, that closer picture would be wide open, with a possible mix of three or more arms that may be led by Taylor Rogers. It could get ugly for fantasy purposes.
Kintzler threw a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 28th save in Friday's win at Oakland. Kintzler bounced back from his fourth blown save of the season in Wednesday's loss to the Dodgers. He's converted 13 of his last 14 save chances despite a 5.0 K/9 over that stretch.
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