Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Nationals add relief to worst major-league bullpen

Nationals add relief to worst major-league bullpen

The Nationals bullpen continues to struggle, and with the loss of Joe Ross for the remainder of the season, the need for quality relievers has only grown.

"He's meant so much to this team not only on the field but off the field", manager Bob Melvin said of Doolittle. Not only did the team leave that group intact in acquiring two late-inning weapons, but it also held on to Andrew Stevenson, arguably a better prospect than Luzardo and the Nats' chief trade chip because he plays the same position as Robles.

Oakland is in obvious sell mode and they may not be done yet as ace starter Sonny Gray has been generating lots of interest around the league. They performed great throughout their careers, they performed really well this year. "I'm super grateful for the opportunity the A's gave me, allowing me to transition to pitching".

"I know the guys will feel this a little bit but we're on a little bit different course right now", Melvin said. We've never really committed to a full rebuild.

The A's acquired reliever Blake Treinen and two of the Nationals' top 10 prospects, minor league left-hander Jesus Luzardo and minor league infielder Sheldon Neuse. Luzardo, who underwent Tommy John surgery a year ago, has three starts in the rookie Gulf Coast League.

Our models project Treinen for a 3.62 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings pitched the rest of season.

This will be Treinen's second go-around with the A's. He will likely be used as a setup man for the A's this season.

Doolittle, in particular, is having a phenomenal year with 13.1 K/9 and less than a walk per nine innings. On Saturday, the relief corps almost blew a 10-0 lead in Cincinnati, allowing seven runs over the final three innings to elevate its ERA to 5.34, highest in the majors. The lefty was holding opponents to a.158 batting average, including 0-for-23 by left-handed hitters.

To the surprise of many, Madson is the better pitcher this year.

"It's really surreal", Doolittle said. I knew my pitch-count had been up ... "There are no hard feelings".

A 36-year-old right-hander, Madson has a 2.06 ERA and is seventh among relievers in hits plus walks per inning at 0.79. What exactly will Madson and Doolittle bring to the beleaguered Nats' bullpen? "He was always ready to pitch for you in any number of roles".

FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the deal, which has since been made official by the teams before Sunday's series finale with the Indians.

Rizzo said he wasn't sure when Madson and Doolittle would be joining the Nationals.

Madson still has the remaining portion of his $7.5 million deal this year and $7.5 million next season.

Although Washington's payroll plumped up with the addition of Madson and Doolittle (combined, they're owed more than $5 million for the remainder of this season and just over $12 million next year), general manager Mike Rizzo didn't have to part with outfielder Victor Robles or any of the club's other most prized prospects.

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