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Nationals sign Brandon Kintzler to two-year deal

Washington is keeping the reliever after acquiring him at last year’s trade deadline.

MLB: NLDS-Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

All-Star reliever Brandon Kintzler and the Nationals have agreed to a two-year deal with $10 million guaranteed, and another $6 million in incentives. There is a complicated option situation as well, as Mark Zuckerman of writes.

Kintzler earned his All-Star selection with the Twins last season before the Nationals brought him over in a trade to help their struggling bullpen. The right-hander pitched to a 3.46 ERA in 27 games with Washington after the trade. He finished the 2017 season with a 3.03 ERA in 72 appearances.

Kintzler, 33, expects to pitch in a seventh inning role for the Nationals, behind Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, giving them a more reliable Opening Day bullpen than they have had in years. Kintzler doesn’t blow away hitters like Madson and Doolittle, as he only averages 4.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Instead, Kintzler relies on his sinker to force ground balls, which is helpful when entering a jam and in need of a double play.

Nationals relievers finished the 2017 season with a 4.41 ERA last season, which ranked 23rd in baseball.