John Lannan Rumors
Jackie Robinson signed a Major League contract with Dodgers GM Branch Rickey on this date in 1947. Robinson played in his first MLB game five days later and went on to be named Rookie of the Year. Here are some notes from around MLB on the anniversary of that historic day...
- Things are looking up for the Dodgers now that they've put 2011 behind them and are about to undergo an ownership transition, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes.
- Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com suggests the Cardinals will be fine this season, even with longtime star Albert Pujols playing for the Angels.
- The Orioles, Cubs, Tigers, Red Sox, Astros and Tigers have expressed interest in John Lannan, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Nationals are inclined to hold onto the left-hander. "We feel he's a solid major-league starting pitcher," GM Mike Rizzo said. "But we feel we have five guys who are better than him." The Tigers haven't ruled Lannan out, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.
- High school center fielder Byron Buxton and college catcher Mike Zunino top Keith Law's list of amateur player eligible for this summer's draft (ESPN Insider link).
It didn’t take Ozzie Guillen long to stir up some controversy in Miami. The Marlins announced a five-game suspension without pay for their new manager following his recent comments about Fidel Castro. Here are the latest links from the NL East...
- Guillen, who addressed the media this morning, faced “the biggest day of his professional life” today according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (all Twitter links). Heyman suggested Guillen’s job was "at risk” but said the community reaction will ultimately matter most.
- Yahoo's Tim Brown writes that Guillen "possesses no authority on the subject of Fidel Castro."
- There doesn’t appear to be any traction on a possible John Lannan for Marlon Byrd trade, Heyman tweets. The Nationals appear to have discussed Lannan and Byrd with the Cubs.
- The Mets view Mike Pelfrey as an innings eater who stays in games, even if it's not always pretty, Newsday's David Lennon writes. Pelfrey says he's capable of more, but the Mets have low expectations for the right-hander.
The Nationals did not speak to the Cubs about acquiring center fielder Marlon Byrd in exchange for left-hander John Lannan, a highly placed Nats source tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The Nats are apparently content to wait out prized prospect Bryce Harper's arrival to the Majors rather than make a trade.
Meanwhile, the Nats are not actively shopping the recently demoted Lannan, reports Sullivan, nor are the Cubs interested in acquiring him and his $5MM salary.
Byrd, for his part, says he would welcome the opportunity to rejoin the Nats -- whether that be via in-season trade or offseason signing -- according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Byrd, 34, played for the Nats in 2005-06. He's slated to hit free agency this offseason after signing a three-year pact with the Cubs prior to the 2010 campaign.
Lannan, 27, was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse toward the end of Spring Training and was not pleased about it, informing reporters via email that he'd requested to be traded.
Harper, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2010, was under consideration to make the big league club out of Spring Training but was sent down to refine his hitting and work on his defense in center field. It'll be interesting to see whether the Nats, who are expected to be in the Wild Card(s) chase, are pleased enough with his progress to call him up, or if they eventually opt for outside help.
The Cubs inquired about John Lannan this week, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The Cubs had already talked to the Nationals about Lannan and another left-hander: former Cubs pitcher Tom Gorzelanny. Marlon Byrd came up in discussions between the two teams, Wittenmyer reports.
Lannan requested a trade after being optioned to the minor leagues earlier this week. GM Mike Rizzo said there's "mild" interest in the 27-year-old, but manager Davey Johnson said the Nationals are "not trading him."
Lannan posted a 3.70 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 184 2/3 innings last year. He’ll earn $5MM in 2012 and will remain under team control in 2013 (he currently projects as a non-tender candidate, however).
Some NL East links for Thursday, as the Braves and Mets get their season started in New York...
- Jose Reyes doesn't seem to be missing the Mets, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. It’d be hard to fault Reyes for enjoying his role on an exciting Marlins team and his $106MM contract.
- Cole Hamels' track record is "a little better than [Matt] Cain's, so it does make things difficult," Phillies senior advisor Pat Gillick told Bob McCown and Damien Cox on Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 yesterday. The Phillies have some interest in locking Hamels up long-term, but Cain's $112.5MM extension complicated things earlier this week.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that he had two "uncomfortable" conversations with John Lannan after telling the left-hander he was being optioned to the minor leagues (Twitter links). "If he was happy and took this laying down, it wouldn't be John Lannan," Rizzo said. "And you'd have to worry about that type of person.''
- Rizzo said there's "mild" interest in Lannan, but manager Davey Johnson said the Nationals are "not trading him," Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Lannan has requested a trade.
Here are some links from around the league as Wednesday turns into Thursday...
- John Lannan requested a trade earlier tonight, but MLB.com's Bill Ladson hears the Nationals aren't close to making a deal. They've talked to at least 20 teams about the southpaw, but his $5MM salary is a sticking point. Washington wants prospects or bench players in return.
- Unsurprisingly, the Yankees top baseball with a $197.9MM payroll according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter links). It's their lowest payroll since 2007. The Padres bring up the rear at $53.9MM.
- Nightengale reports (on Twitter) that Jamie Moyer will earn $1.1MM with the Rockies this season. The 49-year-old made the club after signing a minor league deal this winter.
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette said there is no update on Dana Eveland, according to Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com (on Twitter). The left-hander was designated for assignment last week and they are still going through the process.
- The Orioles are expected to acquire Chris Robinson, reports Melewski (on Twitter). The catcher hit .316/.345/.396 in 240 plate appearances while in the Cubs' farm system last year. He is now listed on the roster of Baltimore's Triple-A affilliate.
John Lannan has told Nationals GM Mike Rizzo that he would like to be traded according to an email he sent to the media, including Amanda Comak of The Washington Times (Twitter link). The left-hander was recently optioned to Triple-A despite his $5MM salary.
"I believe that I belong in a big league rotation," said Lannan in an email according to Comak (on Twitter). The club's fifth starter job went to Ross Detwiler in the wake of Chien-Ming Wang's hamstring injury. A number of teams expressed interest in acquiring Lannan last month, but Rizzo held on to him while insisting for fair value in return. The Nationals are under no obligation to satisfy his request.
- The Nationals announced they were optioning John Lannan to the minors, (a move first reported by Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post), which will make Ross Detwiler the club's fifth starter. In a separate item, Kilgore examines the move and concludes "the Nationals quite clearly put financial interest last and what they believed to be the best baseball decision first."
- The move is sure to spur on more rumors that the Nationals could trade Lannan, though GM Mike Rizzo told reporters (including Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington) that Detwiler won the job and that Lannan has drawn only "mild interest" on the trade market. MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports that the Nats were asking a high price for Lannan, and other teams weren't willing to part with a starting position player in exchange for the southpaw. (Both links are to Twitter.)
- Josh Johnson hasn't given any thought to how Matt Cain's extension with the Giants may impact any possible new deal between himself and the Marlins, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Johnson signed a four-year, $39MM extension with Miami that runs through the 2013 season. Even if Johnson pitches up to form over the next two seasons, you'd have to figure that his injury history will limit the size and value of a contract extension.
- The Phillies offered Cole Hamels an extension worth "Jered Weaver money" (five years, $85MM) late last season, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Hamels now has a strong case for an extension worth at least as much as Cain's deal, Heyman notes. The Giants' initial offer to Cain, Heyman says, was reportedly worth less than $65MM.
- From earlier today, Chad Durbin switched NL East teams, signing with the Braves after being released by the Nationals.
Here's the latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- The Tigers' interest in John Lannan is only lukewarm at best and one executive told Heyman (via Twitter) that American League teams are leery of what switching leagues would do. For their part, the Nationals still seem eager to move the left-hander.
- With no real playing time likely available to Bobby Abreu, it might be for the best for the Angels to simply release the veteran, Heyman writes. Even though Abreu's agents, Peter and Edward Greenberg, said his recent comments were taken out of context, Abreu is obviously frustrated and unhappy about his situation.
- Is Barry Zito's contract the worst free agent deal ever? - Heyman believes that it is and it tops his top ten list. John Lackey, Gary Matthews, Carl Pavano, and Mike Hampton round out the top five.
- There are several theories as to why Adam Dunn wasn't able to produce last year, including the idea that his big contract got to him, writes Heyman. The 32-year-old hit .159/.292/.277 in 122 games last season.
Here's a look at the latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- The Tigers are still showing interest in Nationals left-hander John Lannan, Heyman writes. Tigers people believe that they can find a solid fifth starter from the young pitchers that are competing for the spot, but owner Mike Ilitch's win-now attitude could lead the team to deal for the Nats hurler. Washington might be less eager to deal Lannan in the wake of Chien-Ming Wang's hamstring injury but they could move Lannan and plug Ross Detwiler in the No. 5 slot.
- The Rangers are in the market for a righty hitting outfielder, Heyman tweets. Texas has plenty of pitching depth to dangle in front of teams but might prefer to hold on to their surplus.
- The Pirates would like to shore up their catching situation and also add a lefty reliever to the mix, according to Heyman (via Twitter).
- Padres' CEO Jeff Moorad stepped down from his role because he realized that he wouldn't have enough votes to back him, tweets Heyman. Padres president and COO Tom Garfinkel is now set to assume CEO duties on an interim basis.