Nats acquire Madson, Doolittle from A’s (Nationals win 14-4)

CINCINNATI - The Nationals have moved to shore up their sagging bullpen by acquiring two relievers - righty Ryan Madson and lefty Sean Doolittle - from the A’s in a deal announced Sunday afternoon.

In return, the A’s will receive one major league piece, right-handed reliever Blake Treinen, and two prospects, Single-A Hagerstown third baseman Sheldon Neuse and rookie-level Gulf Coast League left-hander Jesus Luzardo.

General manager Mike Rizzo moved quickly ahead of the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline to fortify the worst bullpen in the majors, which carried a 5.34 ERA into Sunday’s game against the Reds, and pulled off a deal without parting with any of the organization’s top prospects.

ryan-madson-as.jpgMadson will be under team control through next season at an affordable $7.5 million, and Doolittle is on a five-year, $10.5 million extension that runs through 2018 with two club options.

Madson, 36, is 2-4 with one save and a 2.06 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 40 games with the A’s this season and carries a 0.79 walks/nine innings ratio. He ranked ninth in the American League with 30 saves in 2016. Over his last 19 outings, he has allowed only one run in 14 innings with five holds and 12 strikeouts.

Doolittle, 30, is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA, three saves and 0.65 WHIP in 23 games. He has yet to allow a hit to a left-handed batter this season.

Both have experience closing, but it remains to be seen if either will work the ninth inning for the Nationals, who have had eight different relievers record saves this season.

That Rizzo didn’t have to surrender guys like outfielders Victor Robles and Juan Soto or infielder Carter Kieboom means the top echelon of the Nats farm system remains intact.

Treinen was originally A’s property, a seventh-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft who was sent to Washington as part of the three-way January 2013 deal that sent Michael Morse to the Mariners. Treinen, 29, started this season as the Nationals closer, but failed miserably, the first in a series of issues that forced the bullpen makeover.

He led all major leaguers by inducing 17 double plays last season and entered Sunday’s game ranked second in the majors in that category. This season, he was 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA, 1.61 WHIP and three saves in 37 games.

Luzardo, 19, was a third-round selection in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. He was 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA in three starts for the CGL Nationals.

Neuse, 22, was hitting .291 with 19 doubles, three triples, nine homers and 51 RBIs in 77 games for Hagerstown. He was a second-round pick in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft.

Rizzo will address the trade after today’s game.

Update: Daniel Murphy hit a two-run homer off Homer Bailey in the first for a 2-0 Nationals lead. His 15th of the season scored Wilmer Difo, who reached on a single and went to second on an error by the left fielder.

Update II: In the second, Chris Heisey singled home Adam Lind, who led off with a double, and later crossed on Difo’s run-scoring groundout. It’s 4-0 Nats. Let’s see how Tanner Roark works with a comfortable lead.

Update III: It had to happen - the Nats couldn’t go three straight games without a starting pitcher getting touched for a run. But the weirdness of the Reds third defies description.

Reds starter Homer Bailey started off the frame by striking out swinging - but advanced to first base under curious circumstances. Home plate umpire Tim Timmons appeared to signal strikeout with his right arm, catcher Jose Lobaton appeared to glove the ball, but Bailey trotted to first on what is, for now, being ruled a trikeout and a wild pitch (I think passed ball would be better).

Billy Hamilton singled and Jesse Winker walked, loading the bases for Joey Votto, who skied to short left-center. Adam Duvall shot a grounder to short that should have been an inning-ending double play, but Difo booted it and a run scored. Scooter Gennett then plated another run with a groundout to first. Roark then got out of the frame by getting Eugenio Suárez to fly out to center.

The Reds broke a string of 16 2/3 scoreless innings by Nationals starting pitchers this series.

It’s 4-2 Nationals heading to the fourth.

Update IV: Murphy’s second homer of the day, a three-run shot that bounced off the netting that covers the right field bullpen area, made it 7-2 in the fifth. It’s the fourth multiple-homer game of Murphy’s career. Anthony Rendon then singled to center to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, chasing Bailey. Lind greeted Ariel Hernandez with a two-run homer, his seventh of the season, making it 9-2. Seems like Great American Ball Park is living up to its longball-friendly reputation.

Update V: Roark surrendered an unearned run in the fifth, Rendon’s throwing error setting the stage for Gennett’s RBI single. It’s 9-3 Nats heading to the sixth.

Update VI: Rendon lined a 2-2 pitch from ex-teammate Drew Storen down the left field line and inside the foul pole leading off the seventh. His 19th homer of the season made it 10-3, the 17th time this season the Nats have scored 10 or more runs. With one down, Heisey singled and Lobaton homered to center field, the Nats’ fifth longball of the afternoon.

It’s 12-3 Nationals.

Enny Romero is in for the seventh. Roark worked six innings, allowing three runs (none earned) on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. He threw 101 pitches, 65 for strikes.

Update VII: Romero surrendered an RBI single to Gennett in the seventh. It’s now 12-4 and Gennett has three RBIs for the Reds.

Update VIII: In the eighth, Rendon’s RBI groundout and Lind’s bloop RBI single made it 14-4.

Update IX: It’s a 14-4 final. The Nats clinch a series victory and will go for a sweep tomorrow.

blog comments powered by Disqus