Brandon Kintzler seems to be at home with the Cubs after being traded from Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Brandon Kintzler was sitting at his locker as Cubs players wandered in and out of the clubhouse, much like he used to do at Nationals Park before the trade deadline. He was wearing all blue, and his locker had the number 20 on it instead of the 21 he wore with the Nationals. He was smiling, and he admired aloud the state-of-the-art Cubs clubhouse.

In the moments after he learned of his trade to Chicago, Kintzler was shocked and saddened. Almost two weeks later, he looked to be at home.

“When I walked out of that [Nationals] clubhouse and heard everything that was said about me, I thought it was probably better to move on because that’s not the way I play,” Kintzler said. “I don’t go behind people’s backs like that. I would have preferred they confronted me before the trade and said, ‘This is why we’re trading you’ so I could at least defend myself. I was already out the door. . . . I didn’t think it was very fair.”

Kintzler referred to the much-talked-about rumor circulating around the team that General Manager Mike Rizzo dealt him because he believed the reliever was a source for multiple stories that were unflattering to Manager Dave Martinez and the team’s clubhouse culture. Rizzo explained the move as more financially motivated, and it will save the Nationals at least $6 million between this year and next. He has publicly denied the notion that he traded Kintzler entirely because of his clubhouse presence.

“I didn’t like how I was portrayed, that’s for sure. Especially since I was already out the door and didn’t have a chance to defend myself. I don’t know where all that stuff came from. It was kind of shocking, really,” Kintzler said. “It was a great blessing in disguise. This is a great organization. A great team. Hopefully I have the opportunity to come back here and play another year.”

“It’s pretty hurtful because I thought I put a lot into that team and into that clubhouse,” Kintzler added. “To be portrayed by someone who’s not even in that clubhouse, it’s pretty hurtful, but it’s all in the past.”

Kintzler stopped by the Nationals’ side during batting practice, exchanging hugs and handshakes with old teammates and coaches. He said he has been in touch with Nationals players since he left, and he continues to keep tabs on all that has happened. He also admitted that facing Bryce Harper and Juan Soto in Friday’s game (he walked both) was a strange sensation, and that his knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses might have made him overthink a little bit.

Kintzler also said he has been in touch with Shawn Kelley, the other veteran reliever jettisoned by the Nationals. Kelley threw his glove in the ninth inning of a blowout win over the Mets and stared into the dugout, which Rizzo interpreted as showing up Martinez, and therefore designated him for assignment almost immediately. Rizzo later dealt him to the Oakland Athletics.

“With Kelley, I mean, shoot, he’s in a playoff race now, too. I guess they thought they wanted to clean house,” Kintzler said. “It’s too bad they thought we were the problems, but if that’s what helps that team, good for them. . . . I care for those guys on that team. We were really close. It definitely felt weird facing them [Friday]. I hope they pull it off — just not against us, obviously.”

Read more on the Nationals:

Ryan Zimmerman drives in six runs in Nationals’ 9-4 rout of Cubs

Anthony Rendon scratched with left wrist contusion

Dave Martinez reflects on past while moving forward in return to Wrigley Field

Fancy Stats: Juan Soto’s historic year for Nationals should end in rookie of the year honors