Just a few days ago I asked the readers who they felt the Red Sox should try and make a trade for if a deal for a starting pitcher was to be made. The name John Lannan of the Washington Nationals was not mentioned despite hearing his name earlier this off season tied to the Red Sox.
Also a day or two ago reports came out that the Red Sox had made an offer for Lannan, only to hear that no deal was ever really close, if an offer was ever really made.
Now we find out from Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com via Twitter that the Red Sox are indeed one of three team’s who are heavily interested in Lannan. Knobler goes as far to say that a deal is likely to happen with either the Sox, Houston Astros or Detroit Tigers.
Rumors surrounding what the Nationals are seeking in return have not surfaced yet but our Fansided friends over at District On Deck (a Nationals site) have an interesting view on some of the Red Sox roster players.
Aaron Somers, the editor at District On Deck, did a great piece on analyzing the Lannan rumors and drilled down on the Red Sox as a team that could make sense to deal with.
Somers discusses the Nationals need for a right fielder but balks at even the remote possibility of acquiring Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford or Cody Ross (at least at this point). Somers does go on to explore the idea of dealing Lannan for Ryan Sweeney and how he could add value to the Nats outfield.
Ryan Kalish and Che-Hsuan Lin are also mentioned as potential trade pieces, but Somers is quick to point out that neither outfielder is quite Major League ready, something that decreases their value when trading for a proven Major League pitcher.
Somers then goes back to the pitchers that I’ve recently stated as potential trade bait; Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller or Michael Bowden. All three are out of options and anyone of them could settle in nicely into the bullpen in Washington. According to Somers, he would take either Miller or Doubront for Lannan. That type of deal would surely be a win for the Nationals, especially when you consider they don’t need to move Lannan despite him not having a spot in the rotation.
Which begs the question, why would the Red Sox want John Lannan? Here’s a guy that is making $5 million this season, which in turn was enough to have the Padres and Mets drop out of the running. And considering how much we’ve heard about the salary and having to stay around the tax threshold, why not spend a little more and trade for Gavin Floyd who is making $7.5 but is a better pitcher.
Lannan’s numbers aren’t terribly bad, but they’re not great either. Keep in mind that the Nationals have had some lowly years which will reflect poorly upon any pitcher, Lannan being no different. In five years in the bigs, Lannan has gone 38-51 with a career ERA of 4.00. His career WHIP is 1.423 and his strikeout ratio is almost as low as his walk ratio 4.7K/9 to 3.4BB/9.
His best year was last season when he went 10-13, 3.70 ERA, 1.462 WHIP, a 5.2K/9 and a 3.4BB/9.
The encouraging statistic from Lannan is his innings pitched. Three of his last four seasons he’s made an average of 32 starts, good for over 184 innings each season. That is something the Red Sox so desperately need from a starter, more so now that John Lackey and Tim Wakefield are gone, two gents who ate a lot of innings last year despite struggling.
Is John Lannan worth trading Michael Bowden for? Possibly, but only if Andrew Miller and Felix Doubront are not in the same package. Throw in a minor league player, perhaps a AA talent and the deal just might work. His contract is a concern along with his reliance on the groundball. In a place like Fenway, missing bats is a good way to keep the score down. Otherwise crooked numbers could result and we’ve too much of that last year from the aforementioned names.
As always, we will monitor this situation as it unfolds.