Cubs' Reported Interest In John Lannan Makes Little Sense

By Randy Holt

As has already been reported by several outlets, the Chicago Cubs supposedly have interest in Washington Nationals left  hander, John Lannan.

Lannan’s name has been churning around the rumor mill for quite sometime, with the Nats looking to unload the starter from a logjammed starting staff. That crowded staff resulted in Washington sending him to the minor leagues, rather than putting him in the bullpen. The fact that he didn’t fit into the logjam in Washington makes you wonder how he’d fit into one in Chicago.

The Cubs sent both Randy Wells and Travis Wood to Iowa this spring, after a major overhaul to increase the depth in their starting staff. Lannan is the back of the rotation starter, something that isn’t exactly in short supply on the North Side.

Not that Lannan is a bad pitcher, he just isn’t a very good one. He is a lefty though, and still just 27, which certainly helps to explain some of the interest that the Cubs do have.

Lannan’s career ERA stands at 4.00, but he did post a solid 3.70 last season, the best mark of his career. He’s not a big strikeout guy, and his groundball rate is extremely similar to what the Cubs already have in guys like Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm.

All things considered, a potential deal for John Lannan and his $5 million salary makes next to zero sense for the Cubs, unless it was a precursor to another move. Lannan is a starter, and I doubt the Cubs would plan to pay that salary to put him in the bullpen. It would likely indicate something else is on the horizon.

The Cubs love their current rotation. Ryan Dempster looked fantastic on Opening Day, Matt Garza is set to make his season debut on Saturday, and Jeff Samardzija is a guy to watch after a brilliant spring. Add that to Volstad and Maholm, as well as the depth in the minors, and it just doesn’t add up.

Now, if the Cubs and Nats were to discuss a potential trade for a guy named Marlon Byrd, then those would make some sense. The Cubs have been listening on Byrd, and the Nats have a need for a centerfielder.

But as of right now, I don’t see this happening, despite the fact that the Cubs are known to have interest.

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