Nationals Trade for Oakland's Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson


The Nationals need for relief pitching has been one of the worst kept secrets in baseball.

The Washington Nationals acquired right-handed pitcher Ryan Madson and left-handed pitcher Sean Doolittle in exchange for right-handed pitcher Blake Treinen, Minor League left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo and Minor League infielder Sheldon Neuse.

This is pretty simple.

Treinen, 29, was originally a 7th round pick of the Oakland Athletics, before going to Washington in a three team deal that involved John Jaso and Mike Morse.

Madson served as the Athletics closer last season before settling in as their setup man this year. In his past six outings, Feldman is 3-2 with a 2.92 ERA and four quality starts. In 40 appearances, Madson posted a 2.06 ERA and 39 strikeouts, according to Baseball Reference. Unfortunately, his track record (career 3.40 ERA) is not that of a dominant reliever, but he is competent.

Doolittle has experienced some nagging injuries since 2015, but he's been a strong pitcher when healthy. He's enjoyed previous big-league success, and entered the season with a career 2.91 ERA and 2.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Oakland probably should have been able to get some higher ranked prospects in the Nationals trade.

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For the time being, they will likely serve as a lefty/righty platoon in the closer spot. More impressive is that he is striking out batters at a rate of 13.1 per nine and has only two walks all season through 21.1 frames.

Madson is owed the rest of his $7.5 million for this year and is expected to make $7.5 million next year. He has a 3.48 career FIP with a 3.75 FIP this season. The numbers thus far have been promising, but the sample is tiny.

Washington's bullpen has been shaky all year, and the team wants to better their chances for success in the playoffs. Neuse is a decent third base prospect now in A ball. He's also already 22 years old, so he should be productive at that level. Still, it's awfully early and there is still a ways to go. Washington will have Madson through 2018, and Doolittle through 2019. Doolittle and Madson help them get closer to achieving that goal, not just this year, but next as well.

That's key. Bryce Harper is under contract through next season, and it's unclear whether he'll re-sign with the Nats once he hits free agency.

The Nationals have had bullpen woes all season after failing to acquire many proven veteran options during the offseason.