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MLB Trade Deadline Recap: Washington Nationals

A look at what the Nationals accomplished before the trade deadline.

MLB: Game Two-Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals Michael Owens-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the non-waiver deadline has passed, we’re taking a look back at what each team was able to accomplish before 4 p.m. ET on July 31. Next up in our recap series, the Washington Nationals.

Washington Nationals (66-44), 1st in NL East

ACQUIRED: RHP Brandon Kintzler (from MIN), LHP Sean Doolittle (from OAK), RHP Ryan Madson (from OAK), LF/2B Howie Kendrick (from PHI)

TRADED: RHP Blake Treinen (to OAK), LHP Jesus Luzardo (to OAK), 3B Sheldon Neuse (to OAK), LHP Tyler Watson (to MIN), LHP McKenzie Mills (to PHI)
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At this year’s trade deadline, the Nationals had a glaring hole in the bullpen, and they made two impactful moves to upgrade, while also adding another bat to their already potent offense. With the moves made by general manger and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo, the Nationals are set up to make a run to the World Series.

Rizzo made one of the first deadline splashes on July 16 when he acquired a lefty/righty combo of Ryan Madson and and Sean Doolittle from the Athletics for RHP Blake Treinen, 3B Sheldon Neuse and LHP Jesus Luzardo. In one deal, the Nationals parted ways with their sixth and 10th ranked prospects, respectively, and they also dealt a struggling reliever who needed a change of scenery in Treinen.

Since being acquired by Washington, Madson has been dominant in seven innings allowing no runs, four hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts and a .167 batting average against. As for Doolittle, he has not enjoyed too much success as of yet in a small sample size with a 4.50 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, but solid .214 BAA against in just eight innings of work.

The next move added some depth to the lineup in Howie Kendrick who has made appearances in the outfield, and one start at second base since joining the Nats. The Nationals boast a strong lineup, but with injuries to Adam Eaton, Jayson Werth, Michael Taylor, Trea Turner and Stephen Drew, the addition of Kendrick has been welcomed in D.C. In limited time, Kendrick has pulled his weight with a .370/.393/.556 line.

The final move made by Rizzo to fortify the Nationals rotation was the acquisition of All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler. Kintzler picked up 28 saves before being dealt, and he is now in the mix of closer duties going forward along with Doolittle, Koda Glover and others. For now, it appears that Doolittle has the closing duty, but Kintzler provides some insurance and experience should the Nationals make another change.

Overall, it was clear the Nationals needed bullpen help, and Mike Rizzo acquired three established Major League arms to solidify a bullpen that cost the Nats a number of games early in the season. With a strong back-end of the bullpen, the Nationals should walk to the NL East title, and they have positioned themselves as one of the favorites in a competitive National League pennant race.

For a complete list of our trade deadline recaps, click here.