Earlier this month, veteran Boston Globe columnist Nick Cafardo wrote that GM Mike Rizzo and the Washington Nationals could potentially target both Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson of the Oakland A’s in their search for bullpen help this summer.
Doolittle and Madson, Cafardo wrote, “... are both having good years and are likely to change addresses soon,” and, “... [b]oth relievers could be targeted by the Nationals and Yankees,” both of whom are in the market for relief help with the non-waiver trade deadline approaching.
Rizzo and the A’s have a history of working out trades, of course, and it makes sense that with relievers available, the Athletics would be fielding phone calls from the Nationals, who are desperate to bolster their NL-worst relief corps.
Cafardo isn’t the only one hearing these rumblings, apparently, as FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting tonight that the Nationals are indeed making a play for both of the A’s arms:
Sources: #Nationals trying to acquire both Doolittle and Madson from #Athletics. Also continuing to scout and discuss other relievers.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 15, 2017
Madson owed rest of $7.5M in '17, $7.5M in '18. Doolittle: Rest of $2.6M, $4.35M in '18 with $6M club opt for '19, $6.5M club opt for '20.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 15, 2017
Unclear whether #Nationals will require cash in deadline deals and give up better prospects in exchange, as they have done in past.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 15, 2017
Madson, 36, has a 2.11 ERA, a 2.47 FIP, six walks (1.41 BB/9) and 38 Ks (8.92 K/9) in 38 1⁄3 innings pitched for the A’s so far this season.
Doolittle, 30, had a 3.38 ERA, a 2.35 FIP, two walks (0.84 BB/9) and 31 Ks (13.08 K/9) in 21 1⁄3 IP, though the left-hander missed time with a shoulder strain earlier this season.
Asked earlier this month, in an interview with ESPN’s Buster Olney, Rizzo was asked if he was looking for an established closer, bullpen depth, or both as he called around to talk to other GMs about what was available.
“I think it’s going to be a fluid decision,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to have to see what’s available and what the cost is, that’s always the issue, and supply and demand at this time of the year is always what it comes down to.”
Neither Madson or Doolittle is closing for the A’s right now, with Santiago Casilla filling that role, but each have experience in the ninth, with Madson saving 30 for the A’s last season and 32 for the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2011, and Doolittle saving 22 in 2014 and 36 total in his career.