Rizzo: Nats getting calls on Lannan, not actively shopping him

VIERA, Fla. - Teams around the majors have expressed interest in Nationals lefty John Lannan, but the Nats aren’t anxious to move the 27-year-old starter, general manager Mike Rizzo said today.

“I am not actively shopping him,” Rizzo said. “I haven’t actively shopped him all year, all winter.”

Rizzo wouldn’t go as far as to say there’s been “a lot” of interest in Lannan, but did say that teams in need of rotation help have inquired as to what it would take to land the lefty.

“I haven’t made any calls, I’ve fielded several calls,” Rizzo said. “In the baseball annals, the word gets out and people do the math, and they see we have too many starters for too many spots. But again, this is way too early to say that we have too much starting pitching.”

The once-dearth Nationals rotation is suddenly crowded with Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson on board this year. In addition, now back from injury, Chien-Ming Wang seemingly has a tight grip on the fifth spot in the Nats’ rotation, leaving Lannan’s future uncertain.

The Nats could trade him and get back a mid-level prospect, but Lannan isn’t likely to draw in someone who could be the team’s long-term center fielder or make a major impact immediately. More than likely, Lannan would get the Nationals a bullpen arm or a future back-of-the-rotation starter in return.

Other options include putting Lannan in the bullpen to start the season - which would allow him to make a spot start if needed - or sending him down to Triple-A Syracuse.

While Lannan is set to make $5 million this season, he does have an option left. After leading the Nats in wins last season, Lannan wouldn’t exactly be thrilled with being sent down to the minors, but the team doesn’t feel that optioning him would be something which would have a lingering negative impact either on Lannan or within the clubhouse.

It’s possible that Lannan’s trade value could increase as spring goes on, with teams raising their offers as starters struggle or get hurt.

Lannan went 10-13 with a 3.74 ERA in 184 2/3 innings last year.

More from Rizzo to come.

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