Saturday night, it was rumored that the Washington Nationals were attempting to bolster their bullpen by acquiring relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the Oakland Athletics. That is no longer a rumor.

On Sunday, the Nationals acquired both Madson and Doolittle in exchange for Blake Treinen and the following two prospects: third baseman Sheldon Neuse and and left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo.

What this trade means for the Nationals

The Nationals have had bullpen woes all season after failing to acquire many proven veteran options during the offseason. Yet in Madson and Doolittle, the Nationals now have a pair of experienced high-leverage relievers to use in the late innings.

Madson is currently sporting a 2.06 ERA and 6.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He works off a pair of mid-90s fastballs that he complements with his trademark changeup and curveball. Madson is signed through next season at $7.67 million. He spent last season as Oakland’s primary closer, recording 30 saves in 37 chances.

Doolittle hasn’t pitched as many innings as Madson, nor does he have as shiny an ERA (3.38). He does, however, have a 15.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s under contract through 2018 at minimum, and his contract includes a pair of team options that could keep him in town through 2020. In the past, Doolittle has spent time as closer. He’s also missed significant time in recent seasons due to various injuries. 

What this trade means for the A’s

To get something, the Nationals had to give up something. As such, the A’s portion of the deal looks good on paper.

Treinen has a big arm that he uses to pump upper-90s sinkers. He’s enjoyed previous big-league success, and entered the season with a career 2.91 ERA and 2.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Treinen will become arbitration eligible this winter, though his payouts should remain modest due to his lack of saves. He should slot in near the back of the A’s bullpen sooner than later.

Neuse was the Nationals’ second-round pick in the 2016 draft. He’s currently hitting .291/.349/.469 while splitting time between shortstop and third base for the Nats’ A-ball affiliate in Hagerstown. MLB.com ranked Neuse as the system’s sixth-best prospect due to his well-rounded set of skills and potential to become a regular at the hot corner.

Luzardo was the Nationals’ third-round pick in 2016, though he would’ve went higher had he not underwent Tommy John surgery last March. He’s since returned to the mound, appearing in a few Gulf Coast League games, and early indications are that he looks good. MLB.com had him as the Nats’ 10th-best prospect, citing his potential for three above-average offerings.


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