Early Sunday evening, the Washington Nationals addressed what was arguably the biggest need for any of the contenders in baseball – their bullpen. They did so by acquiring Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the Oakland Athletics for RHP Blake Treinen, LHP Jesus Luzardo, and INF Sheldon Neuse. Luzardo and Neuse are both prospects in the low levels of the minors but have been having very good seasons in their respective levels. Treinen is a starter converted to the bullpen and was originally expected to be the Nationals closer this season but has struggled. He should get plenty of opportunities in Oakland’s bullpen and it could be a situation similar to what Felipe Rivero has found himself in with Pittsburgh.
Going the other way are veteran relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, both of whom have experience closing in the past and each should get that opportunity with the Nationals. The nice thing about this trade for the Nationals is that they acquired both a lefty (Doolittle) and a righty (Madson) in this trade, so they have worked to combat their struggles from both sides. Both pitchers have been quite good for the A’s this season, both having FIPs below 2.50 and should only be better in Washington. The best part about this trade is that both players are under contract for next season and Doolittle has two years of club options in 2019 and 2020. This trade could help solve Washington’s bullpen issues for this season and in the future and it didn’t cost them all that much. I’m also not certain that the Nationals are done addressing their bullpen yet and if they can continue adding to it at a cheap price tag, they’ll likely make that deal.
I also like this trade for Oakland too because they got three young players and the two prospects have the potential to develop into major leaguers. A team that isn’t competitive has no reason to spend $12 million on two relievers. Getting something in return for Madson and Doolittle was key for the A’s.