Today, the Washington Nationals potentially fixed their bullpen problems with the acquisition of both Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, who were both listed as the Oakland Athletics setup man role. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Oakland A’s will pick up Blake Treinen, Jesus Luzardo, and Sheldon Neuse. Also, to make room for the pitchers, the Nationals announced that they moved Joe Ross to the 60-day disabled list after they found out he will require Tommy John surgery.
Now, the Washington Nationals are first place in the National League East with a record of 55-34, which gives them a 9.5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves. Interestingly, the team is in first place, but the bullpen is the worst in all of baseball, as they have a bullpen ERA of 5.34.
Now, it seems that Ryan Madson will step right in as the team’s closer, but expect Sean Doolittle to get favored in the ninth inning if a dominant part of the lineup is left-handed. So I do believe we will all see a platoon of Madson and Doolittle in the ninth inning.
Furthermore, the 36-year old righty has had a successful 2017 campaign by posting a 2.06 ERA in 39.1 innings of work (40 games). He has picked up 39 K’s and one save to go along with his solid ERA.
Next, Sean Doolittle has had a good year in limited innings of work (21.1). The southpaw has pitched himself to a 3.38 ERA and he has also recorded three saves and 31 strikeouts, which shows he can just strikeout the side.
In addition, these two arms are controllable, as Madson is under contract for next year and Doolittle has next year under contract then the Nats have two club options that could keep him in Washington up through the 2020 season, which after he would become a free agent.
However, the A’s got a decent haul for these two bullpen studs. They acquired a former player that came up through their farm system in Blake Treinen. The 29-year old reliever has had a rough year (5.73 ERA), but prior to this year, the righty had tremendous success through 2014 and 2016, where he compiled a 2.91 ERA in 148 games (185.1 innings), plus he punched out 158 batters. Expect Treinen to put his name in the hat to become the team’s setup man or closer entering spring training next year.
Finally, Luzardo and Neuse were respectively rated inside the top 20 prospect list for the Nationals. First off, Luzardo is a hard-throwing 19-year-old who was a third-round pick for Washington in the 2016 draft. He did undergo Tommy John surgery in March 2016. Luzardo just returned to the diamond and has only started three games (1-0, 1.32 ERA, 15 K’s). Lastly, Neuse was second-round pick in 2016, and is hitting .291/.349/.469 with nine home runs and 51 RBI’s in Single-A. Neuse is listed as a third baseman.