Is Brandon Kintzler the answer to the Miami Marlins bullpen issues of the past?
As the veteran prepares to take the mound again once the team is allowed to get back to baseball activities in Jupiter, Florida, he may have an expanded role as a leader and mentor to the younger arms that make up the bullpen in 2020. And it’s an assignment the former Chicago Cubs pitcher welcomes with the new-look Marlins ready to show they are more than a doormat this coming season.
The Marlins front office spent most of the offseason adding to the bullpen that wasn’t dependable last season. With a veteran presence on the back end in late innings, it’s hopeful that changes this season. Kintzler sees a lot of potential in the arms he will work with this year.
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"“Once they get cleared to return to the field, Marlins reliever Brandon Kintzler doesn’t anticipate the players will need too much time to get ready for the regular season,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote.“There’s no definitive answer to when MLB will clear clubs to return to the practice field or when Opening Day will be, but Kintzler noted that the players were pretty close to being regular-season ready when Spring Training was halted due to the coronavirus.”"
Kintzler comes to the state of Florida on a one-year deal with a second-year option. Right now, it’s a $3.25M investment that may pay off bigger than the money the front office is putting out to finally have some stability in a position that has been thrown around like a hot potato in recent years under manager Don Mattingly.
"“With 49 career saves, the right-hander is regarded as a front-runner to close. In recent years, including 2019 with the Cubs, Kintzler was used in setup situations,” Frisaro added. “In ’17, with the Twins and Nationals, he had 29 saves.”"
What fans in Miami might like most is the confidence Kintzler brings to the staff. While the rotation is still young and learning to play on this Major League level, the bullpen is a bit more aged with the addition of Yimi Garcia and the possibility of Jose Urena moving back to the bullpen if the Miami Marlins decide to give both the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation to Jordan Yamamoto and Robert Dugger.
Mattingly has many choices he can make – hoping they call for change this season.
"“These kids have got swagger,” Kintzler said. “That’s what you need coming up. You’ve got to be fully confident. That’s what I saw from these guys.“They’re really good athletes. They wouldn’t be pitchers only, I guess, if we had to play high school baseball over again.”"