John Lannan formally requests to be traded by Nationals

18 Comments

From beat writer Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington’s Nats Insider comes word that recently-demoted lefty John Lannan has formally requested to be traded away from the Nationals.

“A trade would be the best solution for everyone in both the short and long term,” the 27-year-old wrote Wednesday night in a statement to the media. “I believe that I belong in a big-league rotation. I am a proven major-league starting pitcher with a track record of success. … I anticipated on being part of the team’s next exciting chapter. If the Nationals feel they don’t need me or want me with the current make-up of the team, I can respect their decision. However, I’m very confident that I am capable of making a meaningful contribution to a major-league team.”

Lannan has started on Opening Day twice for the Nats and posted a cool 3.70 ERA in 180-plus innings last year, but he was beat out by Ross Detwiler this spring for the final spot in an improved Washington rotation.

The Nationals could struggle to find a taker quickly, given that Lannan is owed a $5 million salary for 2012. For now, the southpaw is set to open the 2012 regular season as a starter at Triple-A Syracuse.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
1 Comment

On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”