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Washington Nationals’ Project Bullpen: Nats add Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson; Is Mike Rizzo done dealing?

Washington acquired Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the A’s for Blake Treinen, Jesus Luzardo and Sheldon Neuse. Are the Nats done adding bullpen arms?

Oakland Athletics Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

So, are the Washington Nationals done dealing for bullpen help after acquiring both left-hander Sean Doolittle and right-hander Ryan Madson from the Oakland A’s this afternoon?

Not to put words in anyone’s mouth, but listening to General Manager Mike Rizzo and Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker’s comments after today’s win over the Cincinnati Reds, it kind of sounded like this might be the big move for the bullpen.

“With Madson and Doolittle we get two quality human beings first and foremost,” Rizzo told reporters in Great American Ball Park.

He described the Nationals’ new relievers as, “... great teammates,” and, “guys that are experienced in what they’re going to do,” and said that in today’s trade Washington, got, “... guys with big stuff that have pitched at the end of baseball games, both of them capable of getting the final three outs, and I think it’s something that will stabilize our entire bullpen.”

“We needed some help,” Baker said, in a separate interview.

“We got two quality guys. Both of them have been closers at some point in time. [The A’s] got what they wanted, some young players and Treinen -- which I hate to give up Treinen, but you’ve got to give up something to get something. We got two proven major leaguers, like I said, both of them have been closers to shore up the back end of our bullpen so hopefully everybody can settle back in to their roles and everybody can relax.”

Treinen, of course, was given the first shot at the Nationals’ closer role this season after the Nats failed to land a high-end arm on the free agent or trade markets in advance of the start of the season.

He struggled in the ninth inning role, and didn’t last long in the role.

In 37 appearances this season, the 29-year-old right-hander has put up a 5.73 ERA, a 3.75 FIP, 13 walks (3.11 BB/9), and 32 Ks (7.65 K/9).

Treinen returns to the organization that selected him in the 7th Round of the 2011 and traded him to the Nationals in a three-team deal in 2013.

Also going to the Athletics are 2016 draft picks Jesus Luzard (LHP, 3rd Round) and Sheldon Neuse (2nd Round, INF).

A’s Executive Vice President Billy Beane told reporters, as quoted by San Francisco Chronicle writer Susan Slusser today, that the move is part of their rebuilding plan.

“We have to take a look at where we are - we’re in last place,” Beane said. “And the direction we’re heading is we’re going younger. We need to be disciplined with it, particularly with what we’re trying to do in the community as far as a stadium.

“There’s only one way to open a stadium successfully, and that’s with a good, young team.”

Rizzo said the initial conversations with Beane and A’s focused on just one of the two relievers.

“The conversations that we had with Oakland for a couple of weeks, it kind of focused in on one of the relievers,” Rizzo explained, “and then kind of in the later moments, a day or so ago, it morphed into a big deal when we expanded the deal to add both of the Oakland relievers, it probably came together pretty quick.”

Beane also had good things to say about Doolittle, who was drafted as a first baseman in the 1st Round of the 2007 Draft by the A’s.

“Some of my best memories are of Sean on the mound setting up games during that (2012-14) playoff run, in some cases closing them,’ Beane said. ‘He had that great combination of being emotional and also under control in a very intelligent way, and a class guy in the clubhouse. The transition he made from big-time hitting prospect to big-time reliever was a credit to him but also a real stroke of luck for us.”

So will Doolittle or Madson take over the closer’s role which is currently being filled by... uh, yeah... ?

“I’m not sure,” Baker said.

“I’ve got to talk to [A’s manager] Bob Melvin. Like I said, both of them have closed, I know both of them have had some arm problems in the past, so it could be both of them, you know what I mean, so we’ll see.”