John Axford is the Brewers closer again

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At the end of July, amid an epic, multi-game meltdown of the Brewers bullpen, Ron Roenicke decided to go to a closer-by-committee approach. That’s over now, and John Axford has his old job back, it seems. Axford was put in after the Brewers turned a 5-0 lead into a save situation against the Cubs last night. And Roenicke liked what he saw:

“This is a guy we would obviously like to be in that closer role,” Roenicke said. “And the reason we took him out of it is to try and do what’s best for him to get back into that role. I think when he was out of it, I think he pitched well enough to allow us the confidence that we think we can put him back in there now.”

Overall Axford hasn’t exactly been lights-out since he was pulled from the closer’s role, so it’s not like he’s a new man or something.  But it’s at least worth Milwaukee figuring out what they have with him now, when the games no  longer really matter as opposed to going into the offseason unsure of it.

Report: Nationals sign reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year deal

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Both a Kinsler and a Kintzler made headlines at the Winter Meetings. After the Angels acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Nationals have inked reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year contract, pending a physical. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the deal is worth $10 million and includes a third-year option worth $6 million.

Kintzler, 33, spent the latter half of his 2017 campaign with the Nationals after the Twins traded him. Between both clubs, he put up an aggregate 3.03 ERA with 29 saves and a 39/16 K/BB ratio in 71 1/3 innings.

Sean Doolittle will handle save situations for the Nationals. Kintzler and Ryan Madson will bridge the gap to him in the seventh and eighth innings.