Nats get Madson, Doolittle from A's for Treinen, prospects

Washington Nationals Acquire Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle From Oakland Athletics

Washington Nationals Acquire Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle From Oakland Athletics

The Washington Nationals needed bullpen help like D.C. needs a dehumidifier. The righty has fanned 39 batters in 39.1 innings while earning one save and 14 holds. On June 23 at Nationals Park, Strasburg allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings in a no-decision vs. Cincinnati. Their bullpen was terrible up to this point (-0.9 combined fWAR) and while they have the best offense in baseball, there is no way they would make it through a postseason with what they had in the bullpen. Throughout the course of the 2017 season, Doolittle has posted a 3.38 ERA with a 0.66 WHIP during 21.2 innings of work. As for Doolittle, he's so dominant against lefties that it's hard to envision Baker reserving him exclusively for ninth-inning use when there's sure to be tough lefty hitters who need to be retired in earlier innings. Both relievers are also well-versed in the setup role and both are effective against right-handed and left-handed hitters.

In addition, Madson and Doolittle bring veteran presence to a bullpen lacking that.

Resurrecting his career with the Kansas City Royals two years ago, he was part of their incredible championship bullpen. Since returning to the majors in 2015, his ERA in the ninth inning (3.43) is more than a run higher than it is in the seventh and eighth (2.26). Doolittle has a 4.00 ERA in nine postseason innings spread over three seasons. Injury issues are an issue as he missed 41 days this year with arm issues. He also has loads of playoff experience. Doolittle's health history isn't as predictable.

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After whiffing on the big three of Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon in free agency last winter, the Nats initially anointed the unproven Treinen, who quickly proved that, good as he was in setup duty a year ago, he wasn't ready for prime time.

Although he was shocked when he walked into Melvin's office and received the news, Doolittle said he was excited for the opportunity to pitch for a team that has a chance to contend for a championship this year. Madson will be a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, while Doolittle's contract calls for two team option years in 2019 and 2020. For many reasons including Oakland's desperation, this is a deal no one should expect to go away.

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