Ain't no rest for the wicked.
The Los Angeles Dodgers newest additions both arrived at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, less than 24 hours after it was announced they had been traded from their former teams.
Right-handed pitcher Ryan Madson was in the Nation's Capital on Friday afternoon when he received the news that he was headed to Los Angeles, but after the initial shock wore off, he was excited to go from a fading team, to the 2017 World Series runner up a team that is currently deep in the throes of a division race.
"It’s a special thing going out there holding a lead, especially for a playoff contending team," said Madson before Saturday's game against Arizona."Definitely the emotions are heightened, and it’s a rush you can’t get anywhere else off the field. I’m looking forward to doing it again this playoff push."
Madson was a talent the current Dodgers front office has long coveted. Through 2015 to 2017, he was one of the best relievers in the game. However, after posting a 1.83 ERA last season, the 38-year-old has struggled with the Nationals, recording a 5.68 ERA in Washington.
Despite the less than stellar numbers, the Dodgers believe that Madson's stuff is still strong, and see him as a high-leverage reliever in September and beyond.
Madson himself said he didn't know the cause of his struggles in Washington, but was excited to meet with Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bullpen coach Mark Prior to figure it out.
"One of the first things I said to him is I’m open to any suggestions you might have," Madson told Honeycutt on Saturday. "A lot of people say you’ve been in the game so long, but the first thing I said, and to Mark [Prior], is if you see anything, let me know because I can use it, and I’m open to it."
Madson was activated on Saturday and made available out of the pen if need be. The right-hander last pitched on Monday after coming off the disabled list with nerve root irritation.
Ideally, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts would like to ease Madson into a high-leverage role, but if we know anything about the Dodgers, its that sometimes things don’t go according to plan, and they're not afraid to throw their veterans straight into the fire.
For example, the Dodgers other acquisition, former 2011 World Series MVP David Freese, went directly into the flames on Saturday as he made the start at first base, just hours after he was told he had been traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to Los Angeles.
Freese was in Atlanta when he received the news past midnight eastern standard time, and hopped on the first flight to LaLa Land on Saturday morning. Freese was an All-Star with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012, and he said walking into the Dodgers clubhouse for the first time was reminiscent of that experience.
"I walked in, and it kind of felt like an All-Star Game, to be honest," Freese said after walking into the clubhouse. "I’m just going to try and be me. That’s the easiest thing I can do. Do my thing, play a little first and third, do all that and have some fun."
Freese has a career average of .300 against left-handed pitching, and it's no secret he was acquired for that very stat, as the Dodgers have struggled against southpaws this season.
Freese is expected to start at either first or third base against left-handers, and serve as a right-handed bat off the bench the remainder of the time.
One thing for certain is that current third baseman, and 2017 All-Star Justin Turner, is excited at the prospect of having not one, but two former World Series champions join the clubhouse during a playoff push.
"The veteran presence. They're guys who have been there and played in big moments," said Turner of the team's newest additions. "Obviously the back of David's baseball card is pretty special what he's done, especially in the postseason. It's exciting. I'm looking forward to welcoming both of them with open arms."