The Washington Nationals have been looking for bullpen help for most of this season. Washington’s bullpen has been a train wreck with a 5.34 ERA to date. Only one other bullpen, Detroit’s, has an ERA above five (5.09). Washington’s bullpen also holds the worst batting average against (.280) and fewest amount of strikeouts (229) in all of MLB.
Washington Nationals Acquire Doolittle, Madson From A’s
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 16, 2017
It was no secret that the Nationals needed a boost in their bullpen. Their starting rotation is throwing more pitches on average than other teams, and the bullpen has the highest ERA in MLB. Doolittle is a lefty reliever who has been for each of the past six seasons. He is the definition of a lefty specialist. The most impressive part of Doolittle’s performance is the fact that he has held left-handed batters hitless in 24 plate appearances with 12 strikeouts this season. He currently holds a 3.38 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched.
Madson is a veteran reliever who is having arguably his best year in his 12th big league season. Madson boasts a 2.06 ERA with one save and just two home runs allowed in 40 appearances. He has 39 strikeouts while limiting opposing hits to a .188 batting average and .496 OPS this season.
The Nationals already held a 9.5 game lead in the NL East, but this trade is more about competing in October. Washington certainly looks like a lock to make the postseason. Now they have improved their chances of making a deep run this season.
There is no denying Washington paid a heavy cost to obtain these relievers. Blake Treinen is the MLB player that the A’s received, and he will be ready to help right away. Treinen does have an extremely high 5.73 ERA in 37 appearances this season, but he has been effective over his previous two years. The A’s will hope he can return to that form soon.
The two big pieces for Oakland are Sheldon Neuse and Jesus Luzardo, the sixth and 10th ranked prospects for Washington. Neuse is a 3B who is having a solid season at the Single-A level with a .349 OBP and a .818 OPS in 77 games. Luzardo is a 19-year old southpaw pitching prospect who is seeing his first professional action this season. It is still too early to project what these two prospects may become, but two top-10 prospects is a steep price to acquire relief pitching.