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Nationals think Brandon Kintzler spilled clubhouse dirt to press

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The Nationals stood basically pat at the trade deadline, believing that, despite their struggles thus far, they still stood a good chance of winning the division. It’s not a terrible assumption, necessarily. They are a much better team, talent wise, than their record suggests. All it really takes is a good week or two of play combined with a stumble or two from the Phillies and/or Braves and they’re right in the thick of it.

Even if you don’t buy that, there’s no obvious trade they could’ve made, save dealing Bryce Harper, that would’ve made a huge difference for the course of the franchise. But they did make one trade. They dealt reliever Brandon Kintzler to the Chicago Cubs. Today Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post said why:

Kintzler was shipped out because the Nationals believed he was responsible for anonymous reports that painted Washington’s clubhouse culture as iffy.

“Dysfunctional?” Manager Dave Martinez said. “I don’t see any dysfunction in our clubhouse. I see a lot of cohesiveness, a lot of togetherness.”

The “anonymous reports” no doubt refers to a story Jeff Passan of Yahoo wrote the other day in which the Nats clubhouse was described as “a mess.” That story was published just after noon on Monday. Kintzler was dealt a little over 24 hours later. For his part, Kintzler denies being Passan’s source.

Who knows who Passan’s source was — neither the source nor Passan will ever say so — but this does strike me as some killing-the-messenger stuff. I’d be one thing if Kintzler was the cause of the reported clubhouse dysfunction, but no one is saying that. He was just telling people about it. Which, sure, is not the sort of thing a team likes, but it’s also way less of a problem than having clubhouse unrest in the first place.

In any event, the Nats beat the tar out of the Mets last night and, as I said, they may still very well go on and win the division if they get their act together. If they do, I imagine they’ll look back at this time as when they all pulled together as a unit. How much of that pulling together will be attributed to sending Kintzler off will be rather interesting to see.

Kenley Jansen expected to be OK for spring training after heart procedure

Kenley Jansen
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Building on a report from early September, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is slated to undergo a heart procedure on November 26. The estimated recovery time ranges from two to eight weeks, according to comments Jansen made Friday, and he expects to be able to rejoin the team once spring training rolls around next year.

Jansen, 31, was first diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in 2011 and missed significant time during the 2011, 2012, and 2018 seasons due to the condition. He underwent his first surgery to correct the irregularity in 2012, but suffered recurring symptoms that could not be treated long-term with the heart medication and blood thinners that had been prescribed to him. Scarier still was the “atrial fibrillation episode” that the reliever experienced during a road trip to Colorado in August; per MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, the high altitude exacerbated his heart condition and left him susceptible to future episodes in the event that he chose to return to the Rockies’ Coors Field.

Heart issues notwithstanding, the veteran right-hander pitched through his third straight All-Star season in 2018. Overall, he saw a downward trend in most of his stats, but still collected 38 saves in 59 opportunities and finished the season with a respectable 3.01 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 71 2/3 innings. In October, he helped carry the Dodgers to their second consecutive pennant and wrapped up his sixth postseason run with three saves, two blown saves, and a 1.69 ERA across 10 2/3 innings.