The Nationals get two important pieces to help their ailing bullpen, and Doolittle could even fill the closer role, which has been filled by committee thus far.
The Washington Nationals acquired right-handed pitcher Ryan Madson and left-handed pitcher Sean Doolittle in exchange for right-handed pitcher Blake Treinen, Minor League left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo and Minor League infielder Sheldon Neuse. At 36 years old, Madson is still shutting down hitters, pitching to a 2.06 ERA in 40 games this season. He offers a phenomenal 31:2 K:BB and should provide a steadying presence in high-leverage situations - perhaps with some save chances - for the Nationals moving forward. In addition to moving reliever Blake Treinen in the aforementioned trade with Oakland, the Nationals now have Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover on the disabled list. He works off a pair of mid-90s fastballs that he complements with his trademark changeup and curveball. While Madson is signed through 2018 and will receive $7.5 million next year, Doolittle's contract spans through 2020 with team options beginning in 2019. Lefties are 0-for-23 against him with 12 strikeouts and no walks. Doolittle was able to find success as both a set up man and closer for the Athletics.
Whatever the Nationals have to give up at the deadline, whether it's for Doolittle and Madson or somebody else, it's going to cost them. As such, the A's portion of the deal looks good on paper. Since 2015, he has posted a 2.69 ERA, 34 saves, 37 holds in 171 appearances out of the bullpen. Treinen will become arbitration eligible this winter, though his payouts should remain modest because of his lack of saves.
Neuse, 22, was rated as the Nationals 6th best prospect (according to MLB pipeline) and was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of the University of Oklahoma and signed for $900,000. He is in his second year of Single-A ball and he is batting.291 this year.
Considering Washington did not yield any of its top-10 prospects to bring in the combination of Doolittle and Madson, the team has the purchasing power here.