Trade Candidate: John Lannan

John Lannan and Chien-Ming Wang are currently battling for the Nationals' fifth starter job, a competition created by the team's Edwin Jackson signing last month.  Since Wang was re-signed as a free agent in November, Lannan seems more likely to be traded this spring.


Lannan, a 27-year-old southpaw, posted a 3.70 ERA, 5.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9, and 54.1% groundball rate in 184 2/3 innings last year.  Though his career ERA sits at an even 4.00, Lannan's recent SIERA figures suggest he's more of a 4.50-type pitcher.  He's pitched 182 or more innings in each of the last four seasons, including a minor league stint in 2010.  Lannan takes the ball every fifth day, and his groundball rate ranked sixth in the National League in 2011.

With a $5MM salary, Lannan provides a modest amount of surplus value.  He's technically under team control through 2013, but if another typical season pushes him to the $7.5MM salary range for that season, he might be non-tendered this December.  So, Lannan's trade value lies mostly with the 2012 season.

It's difficult to find a team with a big need for $5MM innings guy right now.  The Brewers may have mild concerns over Shaun Marcum's shoulder, but Marco Estrada would be a suitable fill-in.  A.J. Burnett's Pirates debut may be delayed until June due to a broken orbital bone beneath his eye, but would the team be inclined to spend an additional $5MM because of that half-season injury?  The Giants' Ryan Vogelsong is dealing with back pain, but he'll miss less time than Burnett.  The Angels have standard fifth starter uncertainty given Jerome Williams' hamstring injury, but not enough to necessitate an acquisition.

The Orioles' rotation has its share of aches and pains, but plenty of candidates as well.  The Red Sox and Blue Jays could use some depth, but their current candidates are more interesting than Lannan, if less reliable.  The Indians have four pitchers vying for their fifth starter job.

The Tigers seem a bit more open than most to adding a starting pitcher, though presumably not at the cost of $5MM and/or a useful young player.  There's also a case for the Athletics to add someone like Lannan.  Overall, though, it's clearly a buyer's market if the Nationals look to trade the lefty.  Though GM Mike Rizzo has said he's always open-minded to any deal that positively impacts the club, I don't think it'll happen with Lannan this spring unless another club suffers a major loss in its rotation.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

25 Responses to Trade Candidate: John Lannan Leave a Reply

  1. WolandJR 3 years ago

    Lannan to the A’s for Brad Peacock, Tom Millone, Derrick Norris and AJ Cole. 

  2. formerdraftpick 3 years ago

    Regardless of A.J.’s return, I think it would be fantastic if Lannan was a Pirate.  You would definitely have a contending pitching staff at that point.  As another plus, you would be able to relieve the bullpen who was a bit beleaguered last year toward the second half.  A starter who can go 6-7 innings per game would help a bullpen as opposed to a 5 max inning starter.   

    • stl_cards16 3 years ago

      a contending pitching staff?  I don’t think it’s quite there yet

      • formerdraftpick 3 years ago


        • stl_cards16 3 years ago

          Because there would still be three better pitching staffs in a division that everyone considers pretty weak.

    • FS54 3 years ago

      that just shows how much you don’t know about Lannan. Among Nats fans, he is famous for overusing the bullpen for his starts. Besides he is not considered a part of contending pitching staff, unless as a fourth/fifth starter. Having said that, I think Nationals should not trade Lannan. We have had a bad history with injuries and imploding starters early in the season. He does have an option and I think now is the time to use it. He is a major league pitcher but unless we get a deal that we can’t say no to, I think we should hold on to him because he could be helpful down the road this season.

      • formerdraftpick 3 years ago

        I’m confused.  How much do I not know about Lannan?

        • FS54 3 years ago

          just that your belief of Lannan making Pirates pitching staff a contending pitching staff and that Lannan will be able to help your bullpen save innings. Neither thoughts are true for me and most Nats fans. He averages less than 6 innings per start over his career. None of the Pirates starting pitchers (or potential starters) have cracked 200 IP. They seem to have potential to do that, but we will see if that happens. So yeah, I wouldn’t label them contending just yet even after Lannan’s addition.

          • formerdraftpick 3 years ago

            Still confused.  What does my belief system have to do with Lannan and knowing him?

            What did I originally say about Lannan being a 1-3 starter in the rotation? So if you took on Lannan, and made him a starter, you would “eventually” force one of their current starters to the bullpen for long relief duty.  This move would create more competition among starters and allow the starter sent to the bullpen to provide more than 30 innings of relief appearances per season. 

            Plus, when AJ comes back, your rotation would look like AJ (unless he practices his bunting again), Bedard, Correia, McDonald and Lannan, maybe Morton.  Not that bad.  Lannan or Morton for long relief in the bullpen….why would that be bad?  Is Brad Lincoln or Hughes a better choice over Lannan? 

            Trust me, I know Lannan and what his capabilities are.  I wouldn’t say 16 innings off from 200 in 2011 is such a bad scenario either.  Plus, I don’t think I can kick a lefthander who can pitch almost 200 innings a season out of consideration.  

            The Pirates have a nice starting rotation this year and with the playoff rules changing, may allow for a chance at contention.

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

      why should the pirates give up prospect value for a BOR starter?

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

      why should the pirates give up prospect value for a BOR starter?

  3. ironnat 3 years ago

    The chances that some team will have a pitcher go down or not perform as expected are remote.  Lannan will get dealt, if not in the spring, later in the season.  With Wang still a question mark in my mind I would hold on to Lannan for the pen.

  4. NYBravosFan10 3 years ago

    Bye John, thanks for always destroying the Braves. There moderators, is that better?

    • redsx968 3 years ago

      No- you are making fun of your own team using a subtle dig, thus it is inappropriate for this site

  5. sallen22 3 years ago

    Even without Jerome Williams the Angels still have Garrett Richards or Brad Mils.  In terms of stuff Richards has 3 plus pitches and an average change up and projects into the middle of a rotation at worst.  Mills is lot like Lannan, just younger, cheaper and left handed.  So really, there’s no reason why the Angels would pursue LAnnan unless they were looking for a #2 starter for their AAA team.

  6. jphenix2002 3 years ago

    Washington would take crisp but would Oakland take Lannan?

    • Natsfan89 3 years ago

      Why would Washington take Crisp? They showed no interest in him during FA and if they had wanted him they would have been able to get him.

  7. Leonard Washington 3 years ago

    Hope the Sox stay away from him.

    • He’d still be the 4th best starter on the team. And we can assume Oswalt ain’t showing up for work at Fenway.

    • He’d still be the 4th best starter on the team. And we can assume Oswalt ain’t showing up for work at Fenway.

  8. Giraffe Monsoon 3 years ago

    Completely forget the Pittsburgh Pirates. They already had six starters even before Burnett got hurt. Kevin Correia, their sixth starter, can eat just as many innings as Lannan and has better stuff. He’ll probably fill-in for Burnett, unless they decide to go with four starters in April. They really don’t need five starters the first month.

    They also already have Brad Lincoln, Kyle McPherson, Jeff Locke, reliever Chris Leroux, and non-roster invitees Jojo Reyes and Shairon Martis all gunning for starter jobs. I’d rather see Lincoln or McPherson in the rotation before Lannan.

  9. JCCfromDC 3 years ago

    Wang can’t pitch out of the bullpen, can’t be sent to AAA without clearing waivers and can’t be traded until May.  If he’s not hurt, he’s the #5 starter.  Detwiler has no options, but as a power arm can be the long lefty/emergency starter in the bullpen.  Lannan still has an option left, so unless Wang is hurt Lannan is off to Syracuse.

    And for all the teams that have little motivation to pick up Lannan, the Nationals have little motivation to trade him.  Their rotation includes one guy coming off of TJ surgery, one guy coming off of shoulder surgery, and one guy who has never pitched 200 innings in a season.  Another guy is on a one year contract.  And they traded their rotation depth to Oakland for the fifth guy!  They don’t care about paying him $5 million to pitch in Syracuse, they need the insurance.

    Oh, the Nationals will say all the right things. “We regard him as a major league pitcher” and “it’s a tough break for him, it’s just a numbers game” – that sort of thing. But all other things being equal Lannan will be with the Nationals … but not in DC.

    • daveineg 3 years ago

       Don’t be so sure.  It’s a long way from now until the end of ST, and guys teams are counting on could go down with injury too.  Besides, they could still trade him and get another arm back that’s more suitable to be in AAA than Lannan.  As a Brewer fan, I’ve always liked Lannan.  But at $5 million, unless one of the Brewer starters goes down, I can’t see a deal.  The other issue is that Washington needs a CF but there’s just ashes left from a burned out bridge preventing a deal with the Brewers for a guy who might be available.

  10. formerdraftpick 3 years ago

    I guess you don’t watch them.

Leave a Reply