Nationals bolster bullpen with A's relievers Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle

Ruben Hill
July 17, 2017

Washington Nationals fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief ... literally. "They can pitch at the end of games and get three outs". That being said, there are a couple of weeks before the trade deadline and it wouldn't be surprising to see the Nationals add another bullpen arm to give them even more depth. The club picked up Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson in a trade with the Oakland Athletics. Madson and Doolittle have a combined 1.7 WAR on the season.

When healthy, both players have put up strong numbers. Unlike Doolittle, Madson understands the pressures of the postseason, having championships from 2008 and 2015 with the Kansas City Royals. Madson has a 2.06 ERA with one save and 39 strikeouts in 40 games this season.

Sean Doolittle is heading to Washington.

Doolittle has had some injury problems this season, but has been effective when healthy.

Treinen, along with Liam Hendriks and Daniel Coulombe are expected to fill the late-inning roles that are vacated by Doolittle and Madson. Treinen is under A's control through 2020. He is 1-0 with three saves, a 3.38 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings. He's a long way from the majors, and is inexperienced.

Thus far, it has been their offense that overshadowed the Nationals serious bullpen issues. Although he is an intriguing prospect, he is still years away from making an impact at the big-league level. The 22-year-old was ranked by MLB.com as the Nats' No. 6 prospect.

The deal addresses the Nationals' most glaring weakness. Their bullpen was awful 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. They spent the offseason flirting with different closers on the trade block (David Robertson) but were unable to make a deal.

The move indicates the Nationals realize their contention window is right now.

The Nationals (54-36) now sit in first place in the lowly NL East, up 9.5 games on the rebuilding Atlanta Braves, but are dead last in bullpen WAR at -0.9. The Montreal Expos/Nationals franchise has never reached the World Series.

The problem, as it has been for months now, is everybody knows the Nationals need bullpen help.

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.

Luzardo, 19, is 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA (2 ER/13.2 IP) in three starts for the GCL Nationals. And they want it now.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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