Whenever the Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg the “leading candidate” to replace him in the rotation is John Lannan, according to James Wagner of the Washington Post.
Lannan has spent nearly all of this season at Triple-A despite throwing 185 innings with a 3.70 ERA for the Nationals last season and being paid $5 million this year. And he hasn’t even been much good in the minors, starting 22 games with a 4.89 ERA and 74/49 K/BB ratio in 131 innings.
He has, however, pitched reasonably well in a pair of spot starts for the Nationals and is already on the 40-man roster, making Lannan a guaranteed September call-up.
The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr.
Upton, 33, battled a torn thumb ligament and a shoulder issue last season, limiting him to only 12 games with Triple-A Sacramento, the Giants’ affiliate. In those 12 games, he hit .244 with one double and one home run. Upton last played in the majors in 2016 with the Padres and Blue Jays with which he posted an aggregate .693 OPS.
Given the injuries suffered by Indians outfielders in the past couple of seasons it can’t hurt to have some options for organizational depth. If he has anything left in the tank, stash him on the bench or down in Columbus. If not, no harm done.