Benches clear in Chicago as the Braves and Cubs throw inside

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Benches cleared in the eighth inning of the Braves-Cubs game in Chicago last night. In the runup to it, Kris Bryant was hit twice by the Braves’ Lucas Harrell and Anthony Rizzo was hit once, by Braves pitcher Hunter Cervenka. Then, in the eighth, Cubs pitcher Hector Rondon threw inside to Jeff Francoeur. He didn’t hit Francoeur, but it prompted Frenchy to have words with Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. The words got heated and the benches cleared. No one was ejected and no punches were thrown.

You can watch the eighth inning incident here. The best part is the commentary from the Braves announcers, particularly Paul Byrd, the color man. He plays the homer to the hilt, blaming the Cubs for not getting out of the way of the three pitches that hit their batters and making a comment about Contreras being a rookie, implying that a veteran like Francoeur can say anything he wants to him and he just has to shut up and take it. As if Francoeur doesn’t swing at pitches farther outside the strike zone than the one that Rondon delivered to him on the regular. I sort of hope Contreras mentioned that, actually. That would be wild.

I didn’t watch the game and don’t know what happened with the Rizzo and Bryant plunkings — I’m going to assume they weren’t malicious incidents and that it was just the regular stuff of pitchers and batters competing for the inside of the plate — but Byrd’s homer/pro-veteran stuff is making me roll my eyes so hard into the back of my head that I think I pinched my optic nerve.

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.