MLB Trade Rumors: 3 Potential Destinations for the Nationals' John Lannan

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIMarch 10, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: 3 Potential Destinations for the Nationals' John Lannan

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    It has been rumored in recent weeks that left-hander John Lannan may be on his way out of Washington.

    Ever since the Edwin Jackson signing on February 2nd, the Nationals have had one too many starting pitchers. Generally, this is not a bad thing. The Nationals can address other needs with their excess pitching though, with Lannan generating the biggest return.

    If Lannan is traded, Chien-Ming Wang or Ross Detwiler would take over the No. 5 spot in the rotation, with the other becoming the long man out of the bullpen.

    The Nationals are in need of bench depth, as well as a capable center fielder. They could also choose to just trade him away for a few mid-level prospects.

    Lannan has been an effective starter over the course of his career, garnering a 4.00 ERA and a 38-51 record. He has been better in recent years, becoming a guy capable of pitching 180+ innings.

    As a No. 5 starter, that's pretty valuable.

    The Nationals seem to have a win-win scenario with Lannan. If they trade him, they can potentially fill a need. If they keep him, they have another guy who can give them close to 200 innings.

    Whether he's traded or not remains to be seen, but here are five potential destinations.

Boston Red Sox

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    The Red Sox may have an abundance of starters, but many of the candidates are not assured spots in the rotation. After Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, many starters including Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, Aaron Cook and Vicente Padilla will be battling it out for the final two spots in the rotation.

    Trading for Lannan would only make one spot available, but it would allow Bard to be moved back into the bullpen, a role where he is best suited.

    Cook and Padilla seem like no more than organizational depth at this point in their careers, and Aceves would be great as the No. 5 starter in Boston.

    Adding Lannan would not only make the rotation stronger, but it would also strengthen the bullpen.

    This deal could get done if the Red Sox were willing to offer outfielder Ryan Kalish. Kalish would most likely be a bench bat at first for the Nationals (he's only 23), and he could potentially become either the left fielder or center fielder of the future.

Baltimore Orioles

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    The Nationals have been connected to Adam Jones in the past, and they may still be connected to him now.

    Prying Jones away from the Orioles would not be an easy task at all, as the team thinks very highly of their young center fielder.

    Rightfully so, as Jones owns a career line of .275/.319/.437 with 75 home runs and 291 RBI. He was an All-Star and a Gold Glove Award recipient in 2009.

    To acquire Jones, it might require the Nationals to add a couple of prospects to the deal, but it's a trade that would benefit both parties.

    The Nationals would get their center fielder of the future, and the Orioles would acquire a veteran who could anchor their extremely young and inexperienced rotation.

    The Baltimore rotation is currently headlined by Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel. Both starters are very talented, but neither has yet to prove himself in the Majors. The team will need somebody to give them close to 200 innings pitched, otherwise it could be a long season for the Orioles' bullpen.

Kansas City Royals

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    The Royals are definitely going to be a team on the rise this summer, but their lack of experienced pitching may hold them back from competing in the AL Central with the Tigers and Indians.

    Acquiring Lannan would give them a reliable, middle of the rotation starter that can help to groom the young pitchers on the staff.

    Kansas City did not have a starter throw 200 innings last season (Luke Hochevar tossed 198), so Lannan's durability would have a huge impact on the team.

    It's unlikely that the Royals would part with Lorenzo Cain in a deal for Lannan, but Mitch Maier and a low-level prospect could probably be gotten in return.

    Maier would help to solve issues with depth on the Nationals, as it looks as if Mark DeRosa will be the primary fourth outfielder on the roster. With his injury history, it would be nice to have an insurance plan in Maier.