Monday, February 6, 2012

Yeah? John Lannan and what army?

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe recently wrote of speculation that Nationals P John Lannan will eventually be dealt to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for CF Peter Bourjos. I laughed when I read this. Lannan is a decent starter for the back end of a rotation (or the Angels' fifth starter in this case). He provided 1.3 WAR last year, 5.0 WAR total in four years in the big leagues. Bourjos, on the other hand, provided his club with 4.3 WAR last year alone (not to mention 1.4 dWAR), totaling 6.1 WAR in two big league seasons. What I'm getting at is if the Nats want Bourjos, it'll take a LOT (more than Lannan) to pry him away, as they've already been told. Sure, moving him would open a spot for Mike Trout, or the Nats could always move Jayson Werth to CF to open a spot for Bryce Harper. So a matchup for a trade doesn't seem to make too much sense for either side. But maybe my proposition does:


LAA receives: P Lannan, OF Mike Morse, P Henry Rodriguez, IF Steve Lombardozzi, P Robbie Ray, and OF Eury Perez
WAS receives: OF Bourjos, 1B/OF Mark Trumbo, and P Jerome Williams

The Angels would receive from the Nats three players who combined for 5.3 WAR last year plus three of John Sickels' top-20 prospects (#6, #9, and #18 respectively), while giving to Washington three players who combined for 7.2 WAR in 2011.
Lannan could slide into the rotation's #5 spot for at least two years, but what then happens to Garrett Richards or John Hellweg? Morse gives the Halos a possible #4 or #5 hitter to protect Albert Pujols. But the question then becomes where do you play him? He's played in 138 games at the hot corner, so you can wonder if the Halos were willing to try Trumbo there for the first time, if Morse could get a shot. More logical destinations are at DH, where a logjam could exist with Bobby Abreu or a healthy Kendrys Morales, or at a corner outfield position, where Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter currently reside. Luckily, Hunter, Abreu, and Maicer Izturis become free agents after 2012, and the Angels would control Morse through at least the next year. Rodriguez could serve as a power bullpen arm, Lombardozzi as infield depth, while Ray could form with the two aforementioned pitching prospects a trio of plus arms to join Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson as the nucleus of the next strong Angel rotation. And who knows, Perez has similar skills to become the next Bourjos.
Bourjos instantly becomes the long-term answer in CF GM Mike Rizzo has long sought. Werth could move to LF long-term as well, allowing Trumbo to man RF until midseason, then move to 1B long-term when Adam LaRoche could be possibly dealt and Harper called up to the big leagues. Williams would provide, at most, starting pitching depth or long relief for 2012 and beyond.

UPDATE 2/8/12: I realize now that including Morse and Trumbo is somewhat redundant, so I feel a similar trade, excluding those two, Rodriguez, and Williams (in other words a 4-for-1) could still be fair both ways.

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