The Washington Nationals made a splash to improve their struggling bullpen Sunday, trading Blake Treinen and a pair of prospects to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson.
Doolittle, 30, is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA and 0.66 WHIP. The left-hander has struck out 31 batters in 21.1 innings this season, while adding three spot saves. He has spent his entire MLB career in Oakland.
Doolittle would say goodbye to Oakland fans on Twitter:
"Well A's fans, here it is: the tweet that an athlete does where he thanks the fans and the organization for everything. But in this case it's not a cliche. I grew up in the green & gold and I appreciate everything the A's have done for me over the last 10 years. For the kid who fell in love with baseball the Coliseum when he was 4 years old, getting drafted by the Oakland was a dream come true. And I could not be more grateful for the organization for giving me the opportunity to convert to pitcher (aren't you guys glad you don't have to hear that story anymore?) Shoot, I've been with the organization so long that I have gray hair and I need glasses now. I also want to thank the fans – for embracing me and making me feel so at home here. I was very fortunate to play for you and call The Town home for so many years. There will always be a special place in my heart for the East Bay. ThAnk you."
Madson, 36, is 2-4 with a 2.06 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. The righty has fanned 39 batters in 39.1 innings while earning one save and 14 holds. He recorded 30 saves as part of a stellar 2016 season that saw him continue a comeback from a three-year MLB absence.
Both pitchers are under contract through the 2018 season. (Doolittle has team options available for 2019 and 2020.)
Neuse and Luzardo are both considered top-10 prospects in the Nationals' farm system. Neuse was the sixth-best prospect in the system and Luzardo 10th at the time of the trade, per Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports.
Treinen, a former Athletics prospect, has struggled out of the Nats pen for most of 2017. He's 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA and 1.62 WHIP this season.
The Nationals have arguably MLB's best starting pitching staff but have found it impossible to find late-inning relief. Their 5.34 bullpen ERA is by far the worst in baseball.