Nationals would deal Lannan or Wang, but money (and stats) make it difficult
John Lannan's $5 million contract has made trading him difficult since spring training, and it's no easier now that Lannan has a 6.10 ERA in Triple-A. But the Nationals continue to try. They could also try to move Chien-Ming Wang, who makes $4 million and pitched better in a Wednesday night minor-league rehab start.
It's not easy.
Lannan's 6.10 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Syracuse doesn't help. Neither does his $5 million contract.
The contract -- and the Nationals' resistance to picking up any of it to facilitate a trade -- was a big barrier to dealing Lannan this spring, when he was the odd man out as the Nationals set their big-league rotation. The Nationals are finding out that teams are no more willing to take on the money now, especially with Lannan off to a poor start at Triple-A.
The Nationals may have more luck interesting teams in Chien-Ming Wang, who gave up two runs in seven innings in a rehabilitation start in Syracuse on Wednesday. Wang, who had major shoulder surgery but was on the disabled list this time with a hamstring injury, makes $4 million this year.
Nationals starters have combined for a major-league best 2.26 ERA, and supposed fifth starter Ross Detwiler has been outstanding (3-2, 2.10 ERA). So there's no room in the rotation right now for either Lannan or Wang.
The Nationals have talked to the Tigers at various times about Lannan, with little apparent progress towards a deal. And with Drew Smyly pitching so well as the fifth starter and Doug Fister back from the disabled list, the Tigers would have little use for Lannan.
The Nationals also tried to interest the Red Sox and the Twins, with little success. The Twins rotation has been awful, but with the team playing so poorly, it's hard to justify spending $5 million, especially for a pitcher struggling in Triple-A.