Before he suffered a stress reaction in his left foot which cost him over two months on the Disabled List and kept him from making an appearance in the All-Star Game, Washington Nationals’ closer Sean Doolittle put up a 1.45 ERA, a 1.98 FIP, three walks (0.72 K/9), 49 Ks, (11.81 K/9), and a .134/.167/.220 line against in 37 1⁄3 IP.
Doolittle returned from the DL in early September, posting a 2.35 ERA, a 1.47 FIP, three walks (3.52 BB/9), 11 Ks (12.91 K/9), and a .143/.226/.179 line against in 7 2⁄3 IP.
The 32-year-old southpaw earned 25 saves (in 26 save opportunities) led all National League relievers in opponents’ on-base percentage (.178 OBP), in opponents’ slugging percentage (.213 SLG), in WHIP (0.60), and in Save% (96.2%), with the 25 saves the seventh-most among NL relievers.
So it was not a difficult decision for the Nationals to pick up their closer’s club option for the 2019 campaign.
The 5-year/$10.5M deal Doolittle signed with the Oakland A’s in 2014 included two option years, a $6M club option (or $500,000 buyout) in ‘19 and a $6.5M club option (or $500K buyout) for 2020.
This afternoon, the Nationals announced that they picked up Doolittle’s option, giving him a raise from the $4.35M he earned in 2018.
According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts’ breakdown of Doolittle’s deal, the $6.5M club option for 2020 option becomes mutual option with 100 games finished in 2018-19, which is not at all likely, though another performance like he’s put up in his seasons with the Nationals and they’ll likely pick up that option too.