The Washington Nationals acquired right-handed pitcher Brandon Kintzler from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Minor League left-handed pitcher Tyler Watson and international bonus pool money. Additionally, right-handed pitcher Jimmy Cordero has been designated for assignment. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Kintzler, 32, is in his seventh Major League season and his second with the Twins. A career 12-13 with a 3.24 ERA in 271 appearances (280.2 IP), Kintzler has saved 45 games for the Twins since June 2016. A 2017 American League All-Star, Kintzler ranks third in the Major Leagues (2nd in the AL) with 28 saves this season, converting 28 of 32 save opportunities for Minnesota.
The 6-foot, 190-pound right-hander is just the second Twins pitcher since 2010 to convert 23 or more saves before the All-Star break.
In 2016, Kintzler went 17-for-20 in save opportunities and tied for the third-fewest walks in baseball (minimum 50.0 IP) with eight. In his first season with extensive closing opportunities, he posted an ERA of 1.85 (5 ER/24.1 IP) in 24 road games, compared to 4.20 (14 ER/30.0 IP) in 30 home games.
Originally a 40th-round selection of the San Diego Padres in the 2004 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Kintzler will make Washington his third Major League home.
Prior to joining Minnesota as a free agent in December 2015, Kintzler spent parts of six-plus seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, for whom he made his MLB debut in 2010. Between the Padres (2004-06) and the Brewers (2010-15), Kintzler appeared in 63 games in the Independent League, including two seasons with the Winnipeg Goldeyes and a half season with the St. Paul Saints.
Watson, 20, is 6-4 with a 4.35 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) for Single-A Hagerstown in 2017. He is currently rated by MLB.com as the No. 17 prospect in Washington’s Minor League system, and prior to 2017, he was rated by Baseball America as Washington’s No. 27 prospect. Watson was originally selected by the Nationals in the 34th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Perry High School in Gilbert, AZ.
Cordero, 25, is 2-5 with a 6.54 ERA in 33 games for Double-A Harrisburg. This is his first season with Washington after being acquired from Philadelphia on November 23, 2017.