The first-place Nationals have of course been beset by bullpen problems for much of the season, and the expectation is that they’ll address that shortcoming via trade before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. On that particular front, here’s Ken Rosenthal … 

The Athletics are of course in sell mode, and there’s always a market for relievers. As for the specifics, Sean Doolittle, 30, has pitched to a 3.38 ERA in 21 1/3 innings this season with a remarkable 31 strikeouts against only a pair of walks. For his career, Doolittle owns an ERA+ of 127 across parts of six big-league campaigns. Through team-friendly options in his contract, he’s controllable through the 2020 season. On the downside, he does have a significant injury history.

As for Madson, the 36-year-old has a 128 ERA+ for his career. Earlier in his career, Madson has significant trouble working his way back from Tommy John surgery. Since the start of the 2015 season, however, he has authored a 154 ERA+ across 170 appearances. He’s under contract through 2018.

In addition to given the Nats a lefty-righty combo with closing experience, Doolittle and Madson, as noted, would be under contract through at least next season, which happens to be Bryce Harper’s final year before free agency.

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