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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Nationals acquire Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle from A’s to bolster bullpen

The Washington Nationals moved aggressively Sunday to patch the glaring hole in their otherwise dominant ball club, acquiring relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Oakland Athletics for their opening-day closer, Blake Treinen, and two high selections from their 2016 draft class.

It’s a significant jolt for the beleaguered Nationals bullpen and it comes a full two weeks before baseball’s non-waivers July 31 trade deadline. It certainly came plenty late for both Nationals manager Dusty Baker and fans who grew accustomed to late-inning pratfalls from their relief crew….

Oakland also receives a pair of prospects, most notably pitcher Jesus Luzardo, the Nationals’ third-round pick in the 2016 draft. Luzardo, who has a chance to become the major league’s first Peruvian native, was a projected first-round pick who underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2016. He’s made three starts this season for the Nationals’ Gulf Coast League rookie team.

Sheldon Neuse, 22, was Washington’s second-round pick - 58th overall - in 2016 out of the University of Oklahoma. He’s having a strong first full season at low Class A Hagerstown (Md.), with nine homers, 51 RBI and an .818 OPS.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2017 at 01:55 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, nationals, ryan madson, sean doolittle

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   1. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: July 16, 2017 at 03:49 PM (#5494371)
hallelujah and praise the lord. This strengthens the pen for this year and next year (and beyond, assuming Doolittle holds up) without giving up too much. Nats are still in very good position to make another deal.
   2. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: July 16, 2017 at 03:50 PM (#5494375)
This is a good deal for WSH. Their window is now and their only weakness just got bolstered.
   3. simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose Posted: July 16, 2017 at 03:58 PM (#5494387)
Why, yes, I did just now pick up Doolittle for my fantasy team. (I already had Madson. Why, yes, my league does count holds.)
   4. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 16, 2017 at 05:29 PM (#5494428)
Good trade for both teams. There's no question in my mind that Treinen's a good reliever who just desperately needed to get a fresh start somewhere else. The A's can turn him around, like they do with all their relievers.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: July 16, 2017 at 06:03 PM (#5494441)
Given the desperation of the Nats, given Doolittle is under cheap control and Madson one more year for $7.7 M, seems to me the A's didn't get a lot here.

Noting that Luzardo had TJS already and the recent stuff about the life expectancy of the first TJS, don't teams need to take this into account in trades. By the new conventional wisdom, Luzardo has maybe 6-7 years of productivity left. In one sense, that's all the A's are going to use anyway but it would suggest that, even if he does well, they won't be able to trade him in 4-5 years because everybody knows he's a ticking time bomb. All of that assuming he makes the majors and does well.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: July 16, 2017 at 07:33 PM (#5494454)
By the new conventional wisdom, Luzardo has maybe 6-7 years of productivity left. In one sense, that's all the A's are going to use anyway but it would suggest that, even if he does well, they won't be able to trade him in 4-5 years because everybody knows he's a ticking time bomb.


Is there a link to this? I hadn't heard this.
   7. Bote Man Posted: July 16, 2017 at 07:39 PM (#5494458)
The A's can turn him around, like they do with all their relievers.

Turn him around and trade him right out the door to some other team, as Billy Beane has already fielded a couple inquiries in the short time since this trade.

Of course, he was also quoted to the effect that the Athletics keep trading players so frequently that fans never get used to them. If only Billy had some control over that whole process...
   8. Walt Davis Posted: July 16, 2017 at 09:10 PM (#5494474)
Is there a link to this? I hadn't heard this.

There was a thread last week and in that thread a link to an article from a year earlier. It's not clear how "conventional" the wisdom is yet (I was hyperbolizing there) but the second of those linked articles did suggest that this is become accepted wisdom. Basically, the average lifespan of even a successful TJS is about 6-7 years and while the first one may not cost the player much in performance terms, the second one sure seems to.

But it may just be the latest fad factoid that will collapse under further review. But the Nats/Rizzo are the team that has been at the forefront of this idea so it's not much of a surprise that they were willing to include Luzardo in the deal. Granted, he had TJS before the draft and they still took him so obviously they liked the talent enough to overcome that risk.
   9. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 16, 2017 at 09:34 PM (#5494483)
Having BBReffed all of the players involved, it looks to me like A's were had, and pretty badly.
   10. Bote Man Posted: July 16, 2017 at 10:48 PM (#5494501)
Granted, he had TJS before the draft and they still took him so obviously they liked the talent enough to overcome that risk.

Rizzo seems to specialize in grabbing pitchers who have fallen in the draft due to Tommy John concerns so maybe he has compiled enough research to play the odds in his favor with such guys. The referenced discussion concerned Jordan Zimmermann falling off a cliff after the Nats said goodbye to him, as if Rizzo had a crystal ball or a Palantir.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2017 at 12:07 AM (#5494514)
The referenced discussion concerned Jordan Zimmermann falling off a cliff after the Nats said goodbye to him, as if Rizzo had a crystal ball or a Palantir.

Which was then linked to an article from about a year earlier providing more details and more quotes from a number of sources around baseball.
   12. Khrushin it bro Posted: July 17, 2017 at 12:23 AM (#5494515)
These guys are quality when they pitch, just like Sonny Gray. I hope the A's get something before they all blow up. I'd say Madson is probably most likely to hold up.
   13. Brian White Posted: July 17, 2017 at 07:40 AM (#5494523)
I admit I had no idea Ryan Madson was still around. Looking at his BRef page, he was gone for 2012-2014, with the exception of a single inning in high A ball in 2013. What's the story there?
   14. Rally Posted: July 17, 2017 at 09:08 AM (#5494530)
Tommy John surgery, then setbacks.
   15. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 17, 2017 at 09:50 AM (#5494538)
Great trade for the Nationals. On the A's side, this trade brings back memories of how they threw away Donaldson and Russell.
   16. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 17, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5494568)
Off of #15:

I just looked at what the A's got for Donaldson, with the benefit of time to see how the players received by Oakland have turned out. So far, pretty much a few years of a cost-controlled, league-average starting pitcher. Everything else - including the players received from trading players they received for Donaldson - has been zilcho.

The Russell trade was a little better, because Samardzija was very good for the A's, and they traded him after that season for several players, a few of whom were at least cheap, league-average players for a while. Not great - but better than the Donaldson trade.

It seems like a problem with Beane's decisions the last several years is the lack of high-ceiling talent coming back in these deals. The only way the current Oakland franchise is going to be highly competitive is when they acquire/develop exceptional players with inexpensive, team-controlled salaries. The Red Sox are butchering contracts like Panda and Hanley, and spending tons on Price, but because they have excellent, home-grown, cheap players in Bogaerts, Benintendi, Betts,and Bradley, and solid young players like Travis and Vazquez to help around them, they have options. (They also have a lot more money than Oakland, but you get my point...). I don't see any Chavez, Giambi, or Tejada-type young players on the roster right now...
   17. canadian shield Posted: July 17, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5494575)

I just looked at what the A's got for Donaldson, with the benefit of time to see how the players received by Oakland have turned out. So far, pretty much a few years of a cost-controlled, league-average starting pitcher. Everything else - including the players received from trading players they received for Donaldson - has been zilcho.


They probably wouldn't have won this game without the Donaldson trade:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK201707040.shtml
   18. Bote Man Posted: July 17, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5494576)
So the lesson from the Athletics is that even though Beane has been moving around the deck chairs quite a bit, the Titanic is still sinking.
   19. McCoy Posted: July 17, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5494577)
I'd say "very good" is an over reach for Jeff's time in Oakland.
   20. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 17, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5494587)
I agree with McCoy. The A's got ripped off badly in that trade.
   21. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 17, 2017 at 12:00 PM (#5494588)
And the lesson from the Athletics is not to trust Billy Beane to make trades any more. He sucks at it.
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 17, 2017 at 12:02 PM (#5494589)

I admit I had no idea Ryan Madson was still around. Looking at his BRef page, he was gone for 2012-2014, with the exception of a single inning in high A ball in 2013. What's the story there?


The conversation that led Ryan Madson back to baseball, and the Royals’ bullpen

Madson retired and became a full-time parent for his five children in Southern California, ferrying the older kids to school and playing with the younger ones. His sole connection with the sport was coaching his children and their pre-teen friends.

“I was working with 9-year-olds,” Madson said. “And that didn’t make me want to play again.”

A lifeline arrived one day last summer in the form of a call from Jim Fregosi Jr., the Royals executive who signed Madson with the Phillies in 1998. The call sparked a chain that rekindled Madson’s passion for the sport and stabilized the Royals’ bullpen heading into the American League Division Series.


Fregosi had a simple request. He wanted Madson to tutor a high school prospect in their town named Johnny Morell. The two began to play catch, first a few times a week, and then every day. Reticent at first, Madson felt inspired to climb atop a mound for the first time in months. Watching Morell, who is now preparing for his senior season, reminded Madson not to ignore the chances in front of him.

During the winter, Madson reached out to Fregosi. He was willing to try out one more time.
   23. DCA Posted: July 17, 2017 at 12:26 PM (#5494608)
Great trade for the Nationals. On the A's side, this trade brings back memories of how they threw away Donaldson and Russell.

I don't see this at all. Donaldson deal was terrible (both in real time and in hindsight), and Russell was an overpay but understandable (actually looks much better in hindsight). But this is a fair deal. Treinen has been bad this year, but his track record is similar to Doolittle/Madson prior to that, and he's younger, cheaper, and with a cleaner injury history. By himself, he's a fair return for one two pitchers going to the Nats.

Beyond this year, Madson is owed 1/7.7 and Doolittle 1/4.9 (with two 6m team options). That's not exactly cheap, given Madson's age and Doolittle's injury history (he's basically pitched one season out of the last 2.5). Still, there is some surplus value (even just in having the pitchers even if it's at market price).

A 2nd round pick playing at expectations plus a 1st round talent (who only dropped because TJ) pitching well after recovery is a good return for a half-season of a good bullpen arm and another 1-3 years of roughly market-rate control.
   24. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 17, 2017 at 12:54 PM (#5494639)
Seems like a great move for the Nats, but then remember when the Red Sox got Eric Gagne in 2007, and he went from RP God to RP Nightmare in the time it took him to switch uniforms.
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 17, 2017 at 01:00 PM (#5494643)
I agree with #23, I thought this was pretty fair. Last year, people were talking about Madson and Doolittle being salary dumps, hoping to get anything for them. I would not bet they are worth $13 mill next year.
   26. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: July 17, 2017 at 01:08 PM (#5494653)
Much as I hate to say it, this is a terrific deal for the Nats.

Now maybe they win a post-season round? History is not on their side...
   27. Bote Man Posted: July 17, 2017 at 02:58 PM (#5494758)
Treinen has been bad this year

That's not entirely fair. Treinen does pretty well when he starts a clean inning against right-handed hitters, and it took a while for Dusty to understand that. In some cases Dusty's hand was forced by having even worse options, so he put Treinen into situations where he was bound to fail. That's the result of having an abysmal bullpen: an embarrassment of bad options forcing bad choices.

Or maybe Dusty was doing it on purpose in order to illuminate a huge neon sign that said, "GIVE ME A REAL BULLPEN, RIZZO!!!"
   28. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2017 at 06:41 PM (#5494925)
maybe Dusty was doing it on purpose in order to illuminate a huge neon sign that said, "GIVE ME A REAL BULLPEN, RIZZO!!!"

Lenny Harris says hi.

Comparing this to the Donaldson or Russell trades is silly. He's trading a couple of years of a couple of relievers with injury histories and variable performance (as they almost all do). He wasn't trading Chapman or Miller here, he wasn't going to get major return nor was he giving up a substantial piece of next year's A's. In the Donaldson trade he was shipping out 3 years of an MVP candidate and in the Samardzija trade he was shipping out 6 years of Russell. That was genuine value he was trading away.

The closest you can come to a major criticism of Beane on this trade is that he didn't leverage the Nats' desperation to rip them off blind, he only made a reasonably fair trade. Even if everybody he got back craps out, he lost next-to-nothing in baseball talent terms. Over the last 3 seasons, these guys have produced 6 WAR -- that's less than one season of Donaldson and about 1.5 seasons of Russell -- and he only traded away 1.5 seasons of these guys (plus two options on Doolittle). You trade away 3 WAR, you don't get much in return usually (unless you traded Samardzija and Hammel for Russell or Chapman for Torres). You trade away 18 WAR (3 years of Donaldson or 6 of Russell) and you better get a LOT in return.
   29. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 17, 2017 at 06:57 PM (#5494934)
The closest you can come to a major criticism of Beane on this trade is that he didn't leverage the Nats' desperation to rip them off blind, he only made a reasonably fair trade.

Beane doesn't have a monopoly on good but not great relief pitchers - the Nationals would likely look elsewhere if the price got much higher. The A's got 2 players in the ~ 10-15 prospect range without picking up any salary of the departing players. Pretty good, even if it doesn't come with any guarantee.
   30. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: July 17, 2017 at 07:35 PM (#5494948)
Seems like a great move for the Nats, but then remember when the Red Sox got Eric Gagne in 2007, and he went from RP God to RP Nightmare in the time it took him to switch uniforms.


I thought it was pretty openly known that in Gagne's case it had a lot more to do with the introduction of serious steroid testing.

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