Nats exercise Doolittle's option for 2019

October 29th, 2018

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals will have a number of difficult decisions to make during this upcoming offseason, but they made one of their easiest moves on Monday by exercising 's $6 million club option for 2019.
Doolittle joked near the end of the season that everyone was wondering about his and 's future. But despite missing significant time from a nagging left foot injury, Doolittle's future in Washington was never in question.
When Doolittle was healthy, he produced a career year. The Nationals' ace reliever has given them more than they expected since they acquired him from Oakland in the summer of 2017. In 43 games this year, Doolittle notched a 1.60 ERA, 0.60 WHIP (both career bests) with 60 strikeouts and just six walks in 45 innings. He converted 25 of his 26 save attempts this season and made the National League All-Star team.
Shortly after he was named an All-Star, however, Doolittle landed on the disabled list with a foot injury that he initially believed would not sideline him for long. However, the injury lingered and eventually cost him two months of the regular season. Doolittle returned in September with Washington all but out of the postseason picture.

Doolittle posted a 2.35 ERA with 11 strikeouts and three saves in September, helping ease any concerns that either he or the team might have carried into the offseason.
Doolittle will almost certainly resume his closing duties next season, especially considering the rest of the Nationals' bullpen is unsettled. Doolittle also has a $6.5 million team option on his contract for 2020, another reasonable figure that could keep Doolittle pitching the ninth inning at Nationals Park for the foreseeable future.