MLB Trade Rumors: Nationals still looking at relievers, including Justin Wilson

Doolittle was traded to the Nationals on Sunday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports.

Even after acquiring Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the Oakland Athletics, the Nationals plan to continue to search for bullpen help, one source says.

Although a shoulder strain placed him on the disabled list in early-May, Doolittle maintained a 3.38 ERA with three saves in 21.1 innings pitched. He has averaged 13.08 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) this season with the left-hander holding lefty batters hitless in 23 plate appearances, with no walks and 12 strikeouts. Last season also saw Britton post a 0.54 ERA and 0.84 WHIP en route to closing out 47 games for the Orioles. Opposing batters are also hitting.280 with an.825 OPS against Nats relievers, both the worst marks in Major League Baseball.

As for Washington, after letting Mark Melancon sign with the San Francisco Giants in free agency, the Nats were tied to a number of potential closers over the winter, most notably, David Robertson of the Chicago White Sox. The Athletics will get a shot to fix a former farm hand in Treinen, while also getting two top 10 prospects who have extremely high upside.

That did not go well.

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 collective of Koda Glover, Enny Romero, Blake Treinen and Matt Albers all theoretically have the stuff to get it done, but couldn't do it on a consistent basis - no Nationals reliever has more than 8 saves. The Nats and A's, frequent trade partners over the last several years, were able to agree to yet another trade.

Treinen got the first shot at ninth-inning duties, but faltered from almost the very beginning.

Doolittle, 30, has yet to allow a hit to a left-handed batter in 23 appearances this season.

Madson, 36, is under contract through 2018 at $7.6 million annually, while Doolittle is owed $4.3 million next season with club options for $6 million and $6.5 million, respectively, in 2019 and 2020. But their addition to the Nats" "pen solidifies the team's lone major weakness, all without damaging their long-term future.

Vanessa Coleman

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