Minnesota Twins: Why Pursuing John Lannan If He Is Available Makes Sense

Zak SchmollAnalyst INovember 28, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 26: John Lannan #31 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 26, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

William Ladson of MLB.com tweeted that he is expecting the Washington Nationals to non-tender 28-year-old left-handed pitcher John Lannan.

If that really is true, the Minnesota Twins might want to give him a look.

They just lost Scott Baker via free agency to the Chicago Cubs, and they will need some new pitchers to fill in their rotation.

Lannan is a better pitcher than many people give him credit for.

Part of the reason for this underrated nature is the fact that he spent most of last season in Triple-A. That wasn't necessarily a result of his ineffectiveness in 2011. The Washington Nationals had one of the best rotations in baseball, and it would be hard for anyone to break into that group.

While there last season, he went 9-11 with a 4.30 ERA. Obviously, those are not ideal numbers, and his WHIP was elevated at 1.439.

However, having a difficult 2012 is one of the main reasons that he is worth a risk.

With that type of 2012, Lannan will not be in a position to command a large contract.

Normally, this would not be an ideal proposition. Why would a team possibly want to sign a pitcher who struggled in the minor leagues?

Given his previous career numbers, there is reasonable evidence to assume that he will pitch better.

At the major-league level, he has a career 4.01 ERA. His WHIP is still problematically high, and he needs to get better control over his walks. However, he does not allow very many of those runs to cross the plate, and that is what matters in the long run.

On the brighter side, he only surrenders about a hit per inning and he averages under a home run per nine innings. These numbers are important for damage control.

Lannan would not be expected to pitch like Baker did, but he is a decent option to round out the bottom of the rotation.

There is certainly a risk, and the Twins would be counting on a rebound, but he has been a solid pitcher before.

With the discount that they could almost definitely sign him for, more of their money would be freed up to go after that top of the rotation arm that they have been looking for, according to John Shipley of the Pioneer Press.

Obviously, money is a finite resource, and taking an inexpensive chance on Lannan will help them maximize the distance it can travel.


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