Bill Ladson of MLB.com reported on a pair of rumors circling the Washington Nationals yesterday. The first is a relatively old rumor involving the likelihood of John Lannan being traded before the end of spring training. The second rumor involved a new name in the Nationals center fielder search; Jason Bourgeois of the Houston Astros.
A baseball source told Ladson that he believes the Nationals will trade left-handed starting pitcher John Lannan before Opening Day 2012. However, the source added that Washington’s general manager, Mike Rizzo, is not looking to simply give Lannan away.
This is really nothing new. Ever since the Nationals inked starter Edwin Jackson this offseason, Lannan has watched his name get tossed around the rumor mill.
Lannan currently projects as the Nationals fifth starter, but will be quite expensive in that role as he’s set to make $5 million next season. For this reason it’s been rumored that Washington is hoping to deal Lannan. Ladson’s baseball source said he would not be surprised to see Lannan traded for prospects.
The other bit of Nationals news from yesterday was fresher than the Lannan info. What’s not so fresh is the idea that Washington is seeking a center fielder. In their hunt, the Nationals have apparently spoken with the Astros about Jason Bourgeois.
The major problem with this rumor is that Bourgeois doesn’t profile as the long-term solution in center that the Nationals are seeking. Last week, Rizzo noted that while he was open to adding a center fielder, he’s only willing to do so if it answers the Nationals “long-term question”.
Bourgeois, meanwhile, is 30 years old, has a whopping 431 career plate appearances over his four seasons in the majors, and has only started 58 games in center over his past two seasons with the Astros. Bourgeois has a career OPS of .631 and hit at a clip of .294/.323/.357 in 2011. However, he is capable on the base paths (31 stolen bases in ’11) and his ability in the field seems to be above average.
If he can be acquired on the cheap, Bourgeois may as good of an option as what the Nationals are working with now; Rick Ankiel, Brett Carroll and Roger Bernadina. Still, Bourgeois would only represent a band-aid fix for Washington’s ailment in center.
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