Doolittle and Madson traded from A's to Nationals

Doolittle and Madson acquired by Nats to boost bullpen, my thoughts ….

If you know me and read this blog then you are likely an A’s fan already know the latest Oakland Athletics’ news from the weekend.

On Sunday night the Oakland Athletics traded two relievers to the Washington Nationals: fan-favorite Sean Doolittle along with Ryan Madson.

Yes, the news is sad. Everyone loved both Doolittle and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan. They are warm, welcoming, friendly people who have given back to not only the Oakland Athletics’ fan community and the entire Bay Area but also to people around the world, hosting Syrian refugees to their first Thanksgiving dinner in 2015.

Doo and Eireann will always be a GINORMOUS part of the A’s family and they will be very, very much missed — and I know that they will cheered and honored the next time they return to Oakland or the place us East Bay-ers call “The Town.”

Both wrote lovely messages to the organization and the fans through their social media accounts:

 

So what prompted yet another Oakland Athletics trade of another fan-favorite player? 

It’s not what you think – really! For the first time in his two-decade tenure as the man who runs the Oakland Athletics, former GM-turned-vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, was able to legitimately say to this to the fans according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:

 

While a lot of A’s fans are not buying the Billy’s words, they should be! Haven’t they thought it all through?

Under Beane the team had never really had the money to keep players and they had never done a full rebuild – unless you consider this new youth movement the A’s are currently undergoing to the moves that were made just before and just after Beane was made general manager, which happened just prior to the 1998 season.

A core group of young players were all coming up to the major leagues at the same time and the A’s, while they may have not won a World Series with the likes of Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada, Mark Ellis, the “Big Three” as in Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, along with quite a few other youngsters, went on to do great things.

Winning 20-straight games in baseball is making history. Going to the postseason eight times in the first 16 seasons of the new century isn’t an easy feat either.

Doolittle and Madson traded from Oakland Athletics to Washington Nationals
Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson, aka the Oakland Athletics’ “Big Three.” [Image by San Jose Mercury News]
Unfortunately under the watchful eye of former team owner Lew Wolff, fans of the Oakland Athletics saw each of those players, and more, traded away because Wolff didn’t want to pay their salaries, he just wanted people to be angry enough to not attend games (which worked) so he could move the team to San Jose (that did NOT work).

It’s not as though Beane has the final say on a budget and yet he managed to keep the team remained competitive.

This time Beane will have the opportunity to start with a fresh young team in a brand new ballpark. It is something that he has stated on multiple occasions. He wants to be a team like the 1994 Cleveland Indians when they moved into what is now called Progressive Field. 

They had a young core and while they didn’t win right away, they made the World Series the following season and dominated the AL Central for the remainder of the decade. Beane wants to provide this experience to the players and fans of the Oakland Athletics – except he doesn’t plan on losing that World Series appearance to anyone (the Indians were defeated in the 1995 World Series by the Atlanta Braves).

The stadium is a go – and according to the team’s president Dave Kaval, the site for the new A’s stadium and the timeline for its completion will be announced by the end of the calendar year. So when you really look at what the A’s lost it isn’t much, with the exception of Doo and Eireann’s amazing personalities.

They lost a 36-year-old reliever in Madson and Doolittle, who has struggled to stay healthy. He has missed most of the past two seasons and already had trouble staying healthy as a first baseman, before converting to pitching in 2011. 

So this aligns for the Athletics in their new youth movement. It frees up space for younger players to start getting their feet wet in the major leagues and prepare for playing and winning in their soon-to-be new Oakland ballpark.

In return for Doolittle and Madson, the A’s got reliever Blake Treinen, who according to A’s skipper Bob Melvin,

“throws a hard sinker, keeps the ball in the ground”

The Athletics’ also acquired 19-year-old Rookie League left-hander Jesus Luzardo, 19, and low Single-A third baseman Sheldon Neuse, 22. 

What did the Washington Nationals gain?  

That’s a pretty easy answer. They have had an incomplete bullpen all season and everyone knows it. Period.

While the rest of the Nationals’ team is solid enough to win the World Series with names like Max Scherzer to Bryce Harper to Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg and even former Oakland Athletics’ player Gio Gonzalez, the bullpen has been one big mess. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo’s conversations with Beane began over just one reliever – any reliever that could help stabilize the Nat’s bumbling bullpen. It was something the team sorely needed to fix if they wanted any chance at the making a run at this year’s World Series.

When Doolittle and Madson both were made available to him, Rizzo couldn’t say no. Both pitchers have dealt with high leverage situations, closed games and have the ability to get out both righties and lefties. There really wasn’t much to say no to!

Doolittle and Madson traded from A's to Nationals
A’s reliever Ryan Madson has been traded to the Nationals. [Getty Images]
It’s still unclear if the Nationals are going to be on the lookout for one more closer-type pitcher, so the status of what roles Doolittle and Madson will have in the Nats bullpen is one still under consideration. The Nationals have been linked to closers like the Baltimore Orioles Zach Britton, so within the next two weeks anything could still happen.

However, the Nationals have absolutely brought in two proven players into their bullpen and both Doolittle and Madson will very much help stop the bleeding when it comes to the Nationals’ bullpen.

Overall…

while I know a lot of A’s fans are very upset about the loss of Doolittle – this situation needs to be looked at from a different angle – and that is keeping these new kids together for the Oakland Athletics’ future in their new stadium. Beane made the right choice here and maybe (now with Wolff gone) people should start listening to the man and stop criticizing him for things he often had no control over.

Regardless, the A’s are not making the postseason this year but as the trades keep coming (and there will be more trades as the services of Yonder Alonso, Jed Lowrie and Sonny Gray are needed elsewhere) A’s fans need to continue to remember that the future in Oakland is VERY bright!

 
 
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