The Twins on Monday traded all-star closer Brandon Kintzler to the Washington Nationals ahead of the afternoon non-waiver trade deadline. In return, the Twins netted let-handed pitching prospect Tyler Watson and $500,000 in international bonus pool money, the team announced.
It was not the biggest move of the day across Major League Baseball. It also wasn’t terribly surprising, considering that Kintzler will be a free agent this winter, and the Twins had already shown their intention to be sellers, based on trading starter Jaime Garcia to the Yankees the day before.
Kintzler has a 2.78 ERA in 45 1/3 innings for the Twins. He’s also racked up 28 saves in 32 tries and made his first career all-star appearance. His 33rd birthday is Tuesday.
It’s not yet clear how the Nationals will use Kintzler, under manager Dusty Baker. What’s cleaer is that they view themselves as legitimate World Series contenders, and sent several prospects away in trades recently to acquire Kintzler, along with Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Oakland A’s.
For the Twins end of the deal, they got lefty Tyler Watson. He’s pitching in low-A ball this year, with a 4.35 ERA in 93 innings. He also has a 98:24 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and opponents have hit .258 against him, according to MiLB.com.
Watson might be a top-20 prospect in the Twins’ system. What’s clear is that they’ve targeted extra pitching this year, and they’re willing to take a chance on some arms that are probably at least a few years away from the big leagues.
Lastly, the Twins got $500,000 of international bonus pool money from Washington.
The Twins are expected to make another roster move before Tuesday’s game, since Kintzler was taken from the 25-man roster and Watson will not be added.
It’s not clear who will close games for the Twins now — if the job goes to one specific person. Lefty Taylor Rogers had been Paul Molitor’s primary setup man, and he was having a strong year before running into a dreadful rough patch in the past week.
The Nationals added a trio of relievers to upgrade their bullpen.
The Red Sox helped boost their bullpen Monday by trading for Mets closer Addison Reed. The Cubs also landed Tigers reliever Justin Wilson in a trade, which ought to help shore up their bullpen for the stretch run. The Yankees got two top relievers from the White Sox — Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson.