Yesterday we looked at the bevy of starting pitching options that are rumored to be available this spring. While John Lannan tops the list of those expected to be dealt before Opening Day, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he is not actively shopping his left-handed starter. So far this spring, the Red Sox, Astros, Tigers, Mets and Padres have all shown interest in Lannan.
Rizzo told Kilgore that it’s natural for talk of Lannan’s potential availability to hit the rumor mill. Washington’s GM said it’s as simple as doing the math; other clubs see the Nationals “have too many starters” for a limited number of rotation spots.
However, Rizzo cautioned that it’s far too early in the spring to start talking about too much starting pitching. Rizzo added that he wouldn’t say there’s been “a lot of interest” in Lannan this offseason. For his part, Rizzo hasn’t made any calls, but instead has only taken them.
Kilgore went on to say that the Nationals are willing to hold onto Lannan throughout the spring, as demand figures to ramp up as the regular season nears. If they do not get the trade offer they are seeking, Washington is apparently prepared to option Lannan to the minors to begin the season at the Triple-A level. They would be paying him the same $5 million salary to do so, so this is something that most will believe when they see it.
Kilgore also added that the Nationals will have reason to keep Lannan around in some capacity. As Rizzo said, it’s far too early for the team to start believing it has too much starting pitching. A spring injury could make Lannan necessary, and phenom Stephen Strasburg faces an innings limit of approximately 160 frames this season.
Even so, if the Nationals are able to get the prospects or long-term option in center field they seek for Lannan, he likely will be pitching elsewhere come April 4.
For more on the Nationals, be sure to check out District on Deck.