Washington Nationals: 3 takeaways from Winter Meetings

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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: General Manager Mike Rizzo (R) of the Washington Nationals talks to team owner Mark Lerner during batting practice before their game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on July 31, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: General Manager Mike Rizzo (R) of the Washington Nationals talks to team owner Mark Lerner during batting practice before their game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on July 31, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images) /
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THE LAW FIRM RETURNS

Despite competition from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Nats brought Brandon Kintzler back into the fold.

This odd deal guarantees $5 million this upcoming season then carries a strange option that Washington can trigger for $10 million, Kintzler for $5 million or a buyout. Or—special TV bonus—there is a potential vesting option that could trigger a third year.

Confused? We are too.

This deal smacks of Rizzo’s genius. He keeps a popular player around for a discounted contract while keeping the vaunted bullpen depth intact. Not bad.

Whether Kintzler pitches the seventh, eighth or ninth, he can fill whatever role new manager Dave Martinez wants. Chances are he pitches the seventh when needed and spells Ryan Madson in the eighth to cut workload.

Kintzler’s return takes the pressure off Koda Glover as he returns from injury along with fellow righty Shawn Kelley. How much remains in Kelley’s arm remains a mystery, but he can ease back into whatever role suits him best.

It is worth noting of the 12 Nats who filed for free agency, Kintzler and Ryan Raburn returned while the others remain unsigned. It is a tribute to Washington that no one ran away yet. The Nats will not keep everybody, but expect others to return.

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