John Lannan is the “leading candidate” to replace Stephen Strasburg in Nationals’ rotation

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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.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”