May 20, 2018

Nationals bolster desperate bullpen by acquiring Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from Athletics

Nats ship Blake Treinen and two others to Oakland without surrendering its top four prospects for much needed bullpen help


The Washington Nationals have acquired Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Blake Treinen, as well as prospects Sheldon Neuse and Jesus Luzardo, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports.

Doolittle has had an injury-plagued season, but is one of the better closers in baseball when healthy. The 2014 All-Star has a 3.38 ERA this season, and a 3.09 ERA for his career. In addition, for his career, Doolittle has a 10.9 strikeout rate over nine innings. Doolittle has quietly emerged year by year as a strong closer, but has played on bad Oakland teams over the past few seasons.

Ryan Madson is off to a strong start in 2017 with a 2.06 ERA. Madson, 36, has the playoff experience the Nationals want, winning the World Series with the Phillies in 2008 and the Royals in 2015. Madson has missed significant time in his career, including retiring once, due to injuries. However, like Doolittle, Madson is very effective when he is healthy.

The Nationals have control of both Doolittle and Madson through 2018.

Treinen was named the closer for the Nationals coming into the 2017 season after a strong year in 2016. However, he struggled, and was quickly demoted from the closer role. Treinen, a former Athletics prospect, has a 5.73 ERA and a -0.3 WAR in 2017.

The two prospects the Nationals gave up, Neuse and Luzardo, are the sixth and 10th overall prospects in the Nationals’ farm system, respectively.

Neuse is a third baseman who has been playing on the Low-A affiliate Hagerstown Suns in 2017. Neuse is hitting .291, but his path to major leagues is blocked by entrenched young third baseman Anthony Rendon.

Luzardo is a 19-year-old left handed pitcher draft in 2016 out of high school. Luzardo reportedly can touch the upper 90’s with his fastball, but has recently started rehabbing after Tommy John surgery.

This deal is a huge win for the Nationals, as they were able to get the bullpen arms they desperately needed, while not having to give up the top prospects to acquire them. The Nationals now have a team that is much more positioned to win a championship with a more stable bullpen.

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