After a long wait, the Washington Nationals have finally addressed their need for bullpen arms, after acquiring LHP Sean Doolittle and RHP Ryan Madson from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for RHP Blake Treinen, 3B Sheldon Neuse and LHP Jesus Luzardo.
It\’s been awhile since the Nationals had a legitimate closer for at least a year. The past two years, they\’ve acquired closers at the trade deadline. They got Jonathan Papelbon in 2015 and Mark Melancon in 2016, but both Papelbon and Melancon did not return to the team the following season. So, they were looking for more late relievers in 2017 after bullpen struggles earlier in the year. Madson doesn\’t become a UFA until 2019, and Doolittle doesn\’t become one until 2021. With Doolittle and Madson, the Nats don\’t need Treinen. The give up two top 10 prospects in Neuse (6) and Luzardo (10), but not any top five prospects, which is good.
Madson, 36, has a 2.06 ERA, 39 strikeouts and one save in 39.1 innings this season. In his 12 year MLB career, Madson has a 3.40 ERA, 693 strikeouts and 86 saves in 797.1 innings. He\’s played for the A\’s, Kansas City Royals and Philadelphia Phillies in his career.
Doolittle, 30, has a 3.38 ERA, 31 strikeouts and three saves in 21.1 innings for the A\’s this season. He\’s got a solid career ERA of 3.09, to go along with exactly 300 strikeouts and 36 saves in 253 career innings. When he plays for the Nats, it\’ll be the first time he plays on a MLB team not the Athletics.
For the A\’s, the get a solid reliever in Treinen who\’s just struggling this season, but has had previous success. They also get two solid prospects for an old reliever and a solid reliever, but it\’s still an ok return.
Treinen, 29, has a horrid 5.73 ERA with three saves and 32 strikeouts in 37.2 innings this year. He has a good career ERA of 3.39, 190 strikeouts and four saves in 223 career innings. The only MLB team he\’s ever known is the Nats.
Both Neuse and Luzardo have never played in the big leagues, but might one day. You never know with prospects.
I think the Nats win the trade. They get a big need in bullpen help. Their pen is dead last in ERA (5.34), opponents OPS (.825), 26th in K/9 (8.2) and 23rd in blown saves (14), according to ESPN. Doolittle has a 13.1 K/9 (10.7 career K/9) this season. Madson has a 8.9 K/9 in 2017. And, they don\’t give up any top five propects. That\’s why they win.