Marlon Byrd for John Lannan straight up. Or even if Washington throws in some salary or perhaps a low-level prospect. We know why this trade makes sense for Washington; we’ve done Lannan badly, we’re paying him $5M to sit in Syracuse, and he’s a tradeable asset that has asked for a trade and probably has mentally checked out of the organization. Why does the trade make sense for Chicago? Because their pitching is a mess right now.
Past their good 1-2 punch of Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza, the Cubs have 3 big question marks for starters penciled in right now. Here’s the rest of their planned rotation:
3. Jeff Samardzija was a great reliever (and an even better wide receiver), but has never started in the majors. Despite great scouting reports and good spring numbers (and April 8th’s start where he took a 3 hitter into the 9th) its a risk. And with Kerry Wood walking 3 straight guys to spoil a fantastic start from Dempster on opening day, the Cubs probably could use some back-of-the-bullpen stability that Samardzija formerly provided.
4. Paul Maholm was decent last year, but as put up some big ERAs in the recent past and now will be pitching in a hitter’s park (though not yesterday, 41 degrees with the wind in… hey everyone looks like Cy Young when you pitch in those conditions). On most teams he’s barely a #5 starter.
5. Chris Volstad has been awful for Florida (ahem, Miami) for the past few years, and now is a good bet to be even more awful for Chicago.
Lannan easily slots into the #4 spot and gives the team better innings than what they would have gotten from Volstad. Or, Lannan puts Samardzija back in the bullpen until Volstad puts up a 6.00 ERA in April and the team’s hand is forced.
Chicago could put Reed Johnson in center, or call someone up. In either case they’re patently in a rebuilding phase and don’t need a veteran playing in Center. They’re not hurting for money, but a little pay
Make this move! It’ll be better for everyone. Washington gets a real CF with some offensive capabilities, moves Lannan (who’s clearly disgruntled and finished with the organization), and everyone wins.