Off to see the A’s vs. Italy

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I’m going to Phoenix Municipal Stadium today to see the Oakland A’s play a game against team Italy from the WBC. It’s a warmup game for everyone, obviously. I just don’t know for which team it is a greater formality.

The big names on team Italy: Anthony Rizzo. Chris Denorfia. Nick Punto, who I’ve already seen play three friggin’ times in the past six days. Jason Grilli. Drew Butera and Tyler De La Torre are the team’s catchers, but Mike Piazza is a coach and even at this point might still be a better option. Pat Venditte will be there. That’s the guy who can pitch with either arm. I sorta want to see his two-thumb glove.

I’m about as hazy about WBC things as anyone you’ll meet, but my understanding is that once a team loses two games in the first round they’re done. Italy plays Mexico in its first real WBC game and should likely get beat. Then Canada. If they somehow make it through that they probably have the United States to deal with. What I’m saying is, today’s exhibition against the A’s is one of the final few games this squad is going to play together.

But it should be fun anyway. Maybe the uniforms will be nice. And heck, with my last name perhaps I can convince someone to let me play a little.

Marlins sign Brandon Kintzler to one-year, $3.25 million deal

Brandon Kintzler
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Jon Morosi reported on Saturday that the Marlins signed veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler to a one-year contract worth $3.25 million. The deal includes a club option for 2020 worth $4 million with a $250,000 buyout, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

Kintzler, 35, put up a terrific 2.68 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 13 walks over 57 innings for the Cubs last season. He’s been mostly good in recent years, but relievers in their mid-30’s have had a tough time finding multi-year deals.

The Marlins have a handful of players who could rack up saves this coming season, namely Drew Steckenrider and José Ureña along with Kintzler. The club will likely use spring training to determine an official closer, if they name one at all. The Marlins have also expressed interest in free agent Pedro Strop.