Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Lannan for Byrd? Yes Yes 100times Yes!


Could Marlon Byrd be coming back to the Nats? Photo Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images via

If this MLB rumor is true, then make that trade tomorrow.   If Chicago is inquiring “again,” then make the deal before they stop calling.

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.

9 Responses to 'Lannan for Byrd? Yes Yes 100times Yes!'

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  1. I’d much rather they picked up some quality minor league players instead.
    Any doubt that Lannon has checked out mentally was erased by his performance yesterday. Ugly.

    Mark L

    9 Apr 12 at 8:43 am

  2. Completely unsurprised by Lannan’s performance yesterday. He’s pissed, depressed, upset at the organization. What made anyone think he was going to go out and pitch 6 shutout innings? What motivation does he have to succeed and do well? Moreover, what makes anyone think he’s going to pitch any better if he sticks in AAA for 2 months then gets called up to give a spot start on a doubleheader then is sent back down? This was your opening day starter in 2010; i’m pretty sure if I’m Lannan i’m thinking, “i’ve proven what I need to prove in this organization.”

    In the grand scheme of things, yeah i’d like to get prospects instead. But we know there’s little interest in trading for the guy. So sometimes you take what you get. And if a team is offering a piece that helps you immediately and fills a void that you havn’t been able to fill, either internally or externally, you take it.

    Todd Boss

    9 Apr 12 at 9:23 am

  3. I’d prefer to get prospects, too, but if a trade like that was available it would have happened by now. Bottom line: No one wants to give up prospects for John Lannan. At this point, I’d take Byrd just to get something in return and to end Lannan’s misery.

    That said, utterly self-destructive reaction from Lannan yesterday. Mentally checked out or not, you can’t demand a trade and then turn around and pitch so badly that any team willing to take you would be forced to reconsider. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Maybe he’s just trying to force his outright release, but I don’t think the organization is going to do that, and this sort of self-immolation on Lannan’s part only makes it less likely he’ll be traded.


    9 Apr 12 at 9:55 am

  4. Personally; i don’t think he pitched badly on purpose. 3 days ago he was sent for biggest shock of his pro career; how could anyone be prepared 3 days later to be pitching for a new team, in a new league, against batters he’s never faced before? As I said below; absolutely unsurprised by his poor performance and I’d expect he’d continue to pitch badly for weeks. Look at Detwiler’s performances in the early part of last AAA season after he got cut; same thing.

    Now, that being said, here’s something I 100% believe could be possible; what if Lannan is convinced that he’s hit the end of the road with this franchise? After starting the opening day in 2009 and 2010, the team goes out of its way to sign or acquire starters (Gonzalez, Jackson and re-signing Wang) that are all gunning for your spot? The team takes you to arbitration and argues against you getting a pay raise. Then lies to your face and sends you to AAA? Moreover, because he’s not acquiring service time, he’s “stuck” with Washington now for at least one extra year. He’ll clearly be non-tendered at the end of next off season anyway; why “waste” a year of your finite career toiling in AAA as an insurance policy when you could get cut loose, hook up with a team that needs starters and try to rebuild value?

    I go back to one of the theories I expoused in the post I did about the shocker of his optioning; I don’t think Rizzo and Johnson are on the same page. How does Johnson tell the press that Lannan is “his guy” and that he’d won the 5th starter spot, then a week later demote him? I think that directive is coming from Rizzo, and that Rizzo isn’t communicating with Johnson. We saw it in the Riggleman resignation last year too; Riggleman wanted to talk about his future, Rizzo barely spoke to him and wouldn’t grant a meeting request, so Riggleman resigned.

    Todd Boss

    9 Apr 12 at 10:14 am

  5. No, NO, AND NO!!! NO WAY! IN NO WAY! He’s TOO OLD. He takes up a roster spot a younger positional player like Lombardozzi could use. Five years ago? Renewing him? Sure. Today NO!!!! NO!!!!

    Dumb and Dumber … doh!


    9 Apr 12 at 3:54 pm

  6. Peric. Quick question: who would you rather have playing CF for this team, tonight? Bernadina, Ankiel or Marlon Byrd?

    Ankiel’s OPS+ in 2011: 81. Bernadina? 82. Byrd’s wasn’t stellar in 2011 (96) but that’s a great degree better than what we have on hand. Byrd isn’t a long term solution, but he’s inarguably better than what we have now.

    What has Lombardozzi proven to keep his 25th man spot on this roster? In 32 September plate appearances last season against what can only be described as inferior and/or disinterested opposition he had an OPS of 23. 23! In what world do you “save” a bench spot for someone who cannot hit major league pitching??

    This team NEEDS a center fielder. It has arguably since 2005. Byrd is a center fielder, in the final year of his contract who can hit and play the field decently enough. We’d trade an asset we’re not using to get someone we need.

    Todd Boss

    9 Apr 12 at 4:29 pm

  7. Todd,
    Your points are valid, but I agree with Peric here.
    Too old.

    Mark L

    10 Apr 12 at 12:21 am

  8. I’m with Todd here, if for no other reason than I just want Lannan gone, and we’re not going to get anything of actual value for him. Translation: Marlon Byrd < "actual value"


    10 Apr 12 at 9:42 am

  9. Byrd isn’t a 5-year solution; he’s a 2012 solution. And honestly, this is about killing two specific birds with one stone. Get halfway decent CF cover AND jettison Lannan.

    Todd Boss

    10 Apr 12 at 10:19 am

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