While the Los Angeles Dodgers have been the class of the National League for the better part of the past six weeks, the Washington Nationals sit atop their division and are expected to contend for the NL pennant.
Much like the Dodgers, the Nationals were said to be in the market for bullpen help ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Washington addressed their needs Sunday by trading for relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson.
The Oakland Athletics received relief pitcher Blake Treinen, and prospects Jesus Luzardo and Sheldon Neuse. The domino effect impacts the Dodgers, who reportedly are looking to acquire a left-handed reliever.
According to David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio, the Dodgers’ interest in Doolittle was tempered by him missing five weeks this season with a shoulder strain:
Sean Doolittle missed all of May with a left shoulder strain. #Dodgers had concerns about that.
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) July 16, 2017
Doolittle held a 3.52 ERA and .185 opponents’ batting average in nine relief appearances when he was placed on the DL May 3 (retroactive to April 30). The 30-year-old is 1-0 with two two saves an a 3.29 ERA since returning.
Overall this season, Doolittle owns a 3.38 ERA and 2.34 FIP in 23 games. Although there may be some durability concerns with the left-hander, his 39.2 percent strikeout rate is on track to set a career high.
With Doolittle no longer available, reports suggest potential options for the Dodgers include Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton, though he too has missed time this season due to injury, and Detroit Tigers closer Justin Wilson, among others.