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Nationals bolster bullpen with A's relievers Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle

17 July 2017, 12:13 | Bernard Bryant

NBC Sports Bay Area staffReport Nationals trying to acquire two key A's relievers

Report Nationals Trying to Acquire Two Key A's Relievers

To get something, the Nationals had to give up something.

The A's sent reliever and fan favorite Sean Doolittle to the Washington Nationals along with Ryan Madson on Sunday in a five-player deal that brought them reliever Blake Treinen and two of the Nationals' top 10 minor league prospect: left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo and infielder Sheldon Neuse.

It's a big acquisition that fills a lot of holes for Washington.

Left-hander Doolittle also has closing experience, having saved 22 games (with 89 strikeouts in 62.2 innings) in 2014. Madson and Doolittle have a combined 1.7 WAR on the season.

When healthy, both players have put up strong numbers. After missing three seasons due to injury, Madson returned with the Kansas City Royals in 2015 and has been dominant since.

Madson now sports a 2.06 ERA and 6.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio. This season he owns a 3.38 ERA in 23 appearances. The A's traded Treinen in 2013 as part of a three-team deal involving the Nationals and Mariners. Treinen picked up three saves by April 7, and then reverted to one of the struggling relievers on the Nats. Treinen is under A's control through 2020.

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This season, Doolittle is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA.

The A's opted for Santiago Casilla as their closer this season, but Madson has pitched well, compiling a 2.09 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 39.1 innings. He's a long way from the majors, and is inexperienced. He recorded 30 saves as part of a stellar 2016 season that saw him continue a comeback from a three-year Major League Baseball absence.

Neuse is slightly further ahead.

Neuse, the Nationals' No. 6 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, is hitting.291 with nine homers and 51 RBI for Low-A Hagerstown. They've had seven different players pick up saves for them this season. This creates a stronger window for World Series contention.

As impressive as the Washington Nationals have been in compiling the second-best record in the National League (54-36 going into Sunday's play, resulting in a 9.5 first-place lead in the NL East), their shoddy bullpen looked to be a significant obstacle in the postseason.

The Nationals have been eliminated in the first round every year they've reached the postseason. Getting Madson and Doolittle will help the bullpen a lot as they now have two relievers who can close for them if needed. Both are probably worth an add at this point until the Nationals make any other moves. And they want it now.

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