The A’s shipped relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals Sunday morning in a five-player deal that cost the team more than just a pair of its best bullpen arms.
The A’s acquired reliever Blake Treinen and two of the Nationals’ top 10 prospects, minor league left-hander Jesus Luzardo and minor league infielder Sheldon Neuse.
In what’s become a trend over the years in Oakland, losing the hard-throwing, socially conscious Doolittle takes away the team’s most popular player from its fan base. Doolittle joins Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes as popular former All-Stars who were traded by Oakland, which is rumored to be on the brink of trading starter Sonny Gray, another ex-All-Star.
Neuse, 22, was the Nationals’ sixth-rated prospect by MLB.com and was hitting .291 with nine home runs and 51 RBIA in 77 games with Single-A Hagerstown. The Nationals’ secon-round pick in 2016 out of the University of Oklahoma, Neuse has split his time between shortstop and third base.
Luzardo, 19, was Washington’s 10th-ranked prospect according to MLB.com and was the Nats’ third-round pick in 2016. He was 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA in three starts this season in the Gulf Coast Rookie League, with no walks and 15 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. Luzardo fell in the 2016 draft because he underwent Tommy John surgery on March 22, 2016 during his high school career at Stoneman Douglas High (Fla.).
This will be Treinen’s second go around with the A’s. He was a seventh-round pick in 2011 and was traded to Washington in a three-team deal that netted the A’s John Jaso in 2013. The right-handed Treinen has struggled with the Nats, losing the closer’s role earlier this season. He’s 0-2 with three saves and a 5.73 ERA in 37 appearances.
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. He was 1-0 with three saves and a 3.38 ERA in 23 games with the A’s this season. The lefty was holding opponents to a .158 batting average, including 0-for-23 by left-handed hitters.
Madson, meanwhile, was also very effective out of the bullpen, going 2-4 with one save and a 2.06 ERA in 40 games. The 36-year-old is in the second year of a three-year contract he signed after the 2015 season. His $7.6 million contract made him the highest-paid player on the team.
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