March 21, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher John Lannan (31) during the spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at Space Coast Stadium. Atlanta won 3-2 in 10 innings. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Washington Nationals looking to trade John Lannan for reliever

John Lannan has been a name in trade rumors ever since the Washington Nationals signed Edwin Jackson, and the starting pitcher is now up on the trade block for veteran relief help (Buster Olney via Twitter). The Nats are looking to add some pieces to the pen, and Lannan is a surplus starter who could (a word I use loosely here) fetch them some useful bullpen help.

The problem for the Nats is that Lannan has a 5.38 FIP in 50 innnings…at AAA. That’s horrible. He is striking out just 4.7 batters per nine innings with a 3.4 BB/9 and is giving up homers at a high pace, in AAA no less.

Terrible minor league performance aside, John Lannan is a decent back-of-the-rotation starter who is about a 1-1.3 WAR pitcher (his total last season was 1.3 WAR). He has poor control and doesn’t get many punchouts, but Lannan makes up for it by inducing a high amount of grounders and can eat up innings without there being injury concerns.

Lannan is owed $5 million this season, which is what a 1.1 WAR player makes. He’s worth that much, but the Nats might have to eat up some of his salary if they want something of significance in return. They should be able to get a decent reliever in return who can stabilize a bullpen that has been marred by inconsistency among good relievers, and injuries have also played their part in the Nats disappointing ‘pen.

Drew Storen and Brad Lidge are still out with injuries, and Henry Rodriguez- their most talented, healthy reliever- has been poor this season. The Nats should be able to get a decent SU from a Lannan trade, but the poor performance 50 AAA innings has probably scared some potential suitors already.

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Tags: Brad Lidge Drew Storen Edwin Jackson Henry Rodriguez John Lannan Washington Nationals

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