Maybe the Nationals just don’t like John Lannan

So much for my John Lannan piece.

I thought the Nats were going to slide him right into the rotation, especially after his momentum shifting start the other day.

Instead it is back to Triple-A.

I don’t doubt he will be back this year, but man. The Organization just doesn’t seem to like him this year.

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John Lannan helps the Nats avoid a trade

Virtually every contending team is looking to add an experienced starting pitcher. The first place Washington Nationals (looks odd typing that) need some pitching depth, especially if they are going (insanely) limit Stephen Strasburg’s innings.

So yesterday they added a 27 year old left hander who last year won double digit games with a sub 4 ERA. And what did it cost the team? A 33 year old outfielder batting .157 with an OPS+ of 31.

That’s a hell of a trade. Especially since the pitcher they got went seven strong innings for the win last night.

Except of course it wasn’t a trade. The Nationals designated struggling Xavier Nady for assignment and brought John Lannan up from the minor leagues.

What it really cost the Nationals was humiliation and anger from Lannan at the beginning of the season. And that may have been the most brilliant part of this roster move. With no room in the rotation when the season began, Lannan was the odd man out.

The Nationals sent him to Syracuse and Lannan was angry about it, demanding a trade. They did not trade him, no matter how tempting it would have been. And Lannan did not exactly light Triple-A on fire.

But now he is back, inserted into the rotation partially to give some relief to Strasburg. And Lannan might have a chip on his shoulder, eager to prove that he belongs on THIS level.

If the first game was any indication, humiliating an established pitcher in March might have been the best move in July.

Either way the Nationals got better without sacrificing a player who was even going to be on the roster.

I wonder if they have any more humiliated former big leaguers on the payroll.
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Can the Nationals go 11-3 the rest of the way?

OK, it isn’t the thrilling pennant race to save the season… BUT it could be a big stepping stone for the Nationals.

11-3 would mean the Nationals would have a winning record.
After losing over 100 games in 2008 and 2009 and coughing up 93 losses last year, a winning year THIS year would be a giant first step for the franchise.

It would be the franchise’s first winning season since they were the 2003 Expos.
It would be the city of Washington’s first winning baseball season since the Ted Williams managed 1969 Senators.

And with a core of young players like Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman and pitchers like John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard they might be piecing together decent team.

And oh yeah. If Stephen Strasburg is totally back from his Tommy John surgery and Bryce Harper hits as advertised, this team could be making strides to be the first playoff team in DC history since 1933.

Step one though… put a winning team on the field.
And they can do that THIS year by going 11-3.

And I’m rooting for them.

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