The Nationals acquired Twins closer Brandon Kintzler before this afternoon’s non-waiver trade deadline, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
Kintzler, 32, is having his best season yet in his first as a full-time closer. He has appeared in 45 games for Minnesota, saving 28 and leading the AL in games finished with 41. His ERA is 2.78, his best since 2013. Kintzler made his first All-Star team this year. He will become a free agent at the end of the season.
In exchange, the Nationals will be sending back left-handed pitching prospect Tyler Watson, reports FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. Watson was ranked as the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect heading into this season. Currently pitching for Washington’s South Atlantic League affiliate, he is 6-4 with a 4.35 ERA in 93 innings spread over 18 appearances. He has struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings and walked 2.3.
The Nationals have been struggling late in games all year. Their bullpen has a combined 5.07 ERA, 29th in baseball. While their xFIP indicates that perhaps they have underperformed their peripherals, they will surely appreciate the added help in late innings come playoff time.