Earlier this week, it seemed likely that the Twins would hold onto their valued contributors and attempt to earn a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2010. They even made a move to bolster their rotation on Monday, acquiring Jaime Garcia from the Braves. But they’ve now lost four straight games and sit six games out of the AL Central lead and four out of the second AL Wild Card spot as of Thursday night, so they may turn the ship around and make a last-minute effort to sell.
Kintzler, 32, has suddenly blossomed into one of the most consistent relievers in the majors after spending eight seasons in the affiliated minors and another two full seasons in independent ball. The right-hander has a 2.84 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, though the fact that he’s struck out just 26 batters while walking 10 in 44.1 innings this year means that his success may not be sustainable over the long term.
Fortunately for the teams that are interested in Kintzler, he’s a free agent at the end of 2017, so there’s not much use worrying about his long-term outlook. He’ll be one of the top rental relievers on the market if the Twins decide to sell.
Kintzler could help bolster a Boston bullpen that has the third-lowest collective ERA in the majors but has been weakened for the moment as Joe Kelly deals with a hamstring injury. Even though Arizona has arguably the best reliever in baseball in Archie Bradley, they’d receive a more pronounced boost if they were to acquire Kintzler, as they could plug him in as the closer and allow Fernando Rodney to handle lower-pressure situations.