Major League Baseball trade rumors: Nationals want Sean Doolittle

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Washington is seventh in MLB in blown saves with 14 and the Nationals' 61.11 save percentage is 10th-worst in baseball.

Rizzo has often favored an experienced closer, and Madson provides one who is plenty familiar with getting the final three outs of a game.

The first domino may have fallen on Sunday morning. On the season, he is 1-0 with three saves and a 3.38 ERA (8 ER/21.1 IP). Their bullpen was terrible up to this point (-0.9 combined fWAR) and while they have the best offense in baseball, there is no way they would make it through a postseason with what they had in the bullpen. Doolittle, a 30-year-old left-hander, has been a staple in Oakland's bullpen since he debuted in 2012. Left-handed batters are 0-for-23 with 12 strikeouts and no walks against him. Perhaps best of all for the Nationals, the improvement comes without having to sell the farm.

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Madson is owed the rest of his $7.5 million for this year and is expected to make $7.5 million next year.

The Oakland Athletics have dealt LH reliever Sean Doolittle and RH reliever Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals for RHP Blake Treinen and prospects INF Sheldon Neuse and LHP Jesus Luzardo.

But there's a catch. "We can stabilize our entire bullpen". Treinen, 29, started the season as Washington's closer and is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in 37 relief appearances, allowing opponents a.320 batting average. He has faced them once this season, allowing two runs on seven hits in seven innings during a 6-2 win at Washington on June 25.

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If you squint your eyes just so, you could fool yourself into believing that the Madson/Doolittle deal is the remedy for Washington's late-game letdowns. He underwent shoulder surgery the following season, but has been a reliable reliever for Oakland during the past two seasons.

The 30-year-old Doolittle, who had suffered injuries since his 2014 All-Star Game appearance, has regained his upper 90's fastball and dominance. But at the time of the trade, neither one of them was working the ninth inning in Oak-town (Santiago Casilla was), and for good reason.

A grizzled veteran at 36, Madson will put the Nats over the competitive balance tax limit by himself.

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From a depth perspective, Madson and Doolittle will bring manager Dusty Baker flexibility in the later innings.

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