Washington Nationals Will Use John Lannan in Stephen Strasburg's Spot

Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer ISeptember 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21:  John Lannan #31 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during a game at Nationals Park on July 21, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

At the end of spring training, the excess of starting pitchers forced the Washington Nationals to make a difficult decision.

They needed to lose a starter. John Lannan was the odd man out and was sent to Syracuse of the International League.

According to The Washington Post, an unhappy Lannan requested a trade. He was about to enter his fifth full season in the majors. In 2011, he won double digit games and had an ERA under 4.00 for a team that finished just under .500.

He looked like a prime trade chip for the ambitious Nationals. Lots of teams could have used a 27-year-old left-handed starting pitcher with big league experience.

Instead he spent the most magical season in Washington Nationals history in Syracuse, save for a spot start on July 21 against Atlanta, which he won and another one against Miami on August 3rd, which he also won.

Meanwhile Stephen Strasburg's All-Star season is insanely coming to an end, just as the team is cruising to the first postseason the city of Washington will experience since the 1933 World Series.

According to The Washington Post, Strasburg will be taken out of the rotation and Lannan will go back in.

What if this was part of the plan all along?

Imagine if the Nationals came up to Lannan after he requested a deal and said "Look, we know that you deserve to be in the big leagues. But stick it out in Syracuse with your new wife. Then at the end of the year just as we are about to clinch the Division, we'll take out our stud pitcher who is leading the league in strikeouts and start you. Are we cool with that?"

If Lannan wins a postseason win or two, then Strasburg's benching and Lannan's early season demotion finally make sense.

No pressure, John Lannan. You are only replacing the franchise starting pitcher in the greatest year in franchise history.

Either way, no doubt he is glad to be out of Syracuse and back in the show.