At the end of an appearance on MASN's Mid-Atlantic Sports Report which focused on his recent article about Bryce Harper's thoughts on making the Opening Day roster, MLB.com Nats beat writer Bill Ladson talked about the chances of Jayson Werth ending up in center with Harper in right and the possibility of the Washington Nationals making a trade for an outfielder this Spring. Though Mr. Ladson said Werth could play center and will see time there in Spring Training, he added, "... it would not surprise me if [Nats' GM] Mike Rizzo tried to acquire a center fielder and then we'll see Jayson Werth back in right and Bryce Harper back in the minors."
"Now, is John Lannan out there?" Mr. Ladson asked rhetorically, "There's no question in my mind, although Mike Rizzo will deny it, that John Lannan will be traded, and I think he'll be traded for a center fielder or a position player." Mr. Ladson's not alone. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark on Thursday, in an article entitled, "Big names who might be on the move", listed the Nats' 27-year-old left-hander as one of five players, "... whose names are already being floated -- and could legitimately get traded between now and Opening Day."
The veteran of five MLB seasons finished the 2011 campaign with a (10-13) record, a 3.70 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 76 walks (3.70 BB/9) and 106 K's (5.17 K/9) in 33 games and 184.2 IP, earning himself a raise through arbitration (though he lost his case) from the $2.75M he made in 2011 to a $5.0M salary for 2012. Having added left-hander Gio Gonzalez to the rotation this winter and signed right-hander Edwin Jackson to an already crowded rotation that includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and Chien-Ming Wang, Mr. Stark suggests that, "they don't especially need [Lannan]."
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi suggested the Nationals were "aggressively shopping" the left-hander before the Nats agreed on what is reportedly a 1-year/$11M dollar deal with Edwin Jackson. ESPN.com's Mr. Stark writes that, "... the Nationals are already dangling Lannan to every team they think has even a remote need for a 27-year-old left-handed innings-eater," while mentioning Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Boston and New York (NL) as teams that might have a need. When asked how committed the Nationals were, "to dealing Lannan," a rival executive who'd spoken to the Nats told the ESPN.com writer, "100 percent."
"We're certainly always open to [making] a deal that makes sense for us, and if it can improve the ballclub," D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told reporters in responding to a question about the trade rumors after the Jackson signing. "We did not acquire Edwin Jackson to trade another starting pitcher. If in Spring Training, or before Spring Training a deal comes up that we can't pass up that positively impacts our ballclub we'll definitely be open-minded about it." As the Nats' general manager pointed out at the time, however, with Strasburg, Zimmermann and Wang having dealt with injuries recently, and Ross Detwiler as yet unproven at the major league level, the Nationals thought they had an "innings shortage" before acquiring Gonzalez and Jackson. Will Washington deal the pitcher who led the team in innings in three of the last four seasons?