GM says Nationals “are not actively shopping” John Lannan

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Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported earlier this week that John Lannan is a strong candidate to be traded before Opening Day, naming the Red Sox, Tigers, and Astros are teams interested in the Nationals left-hander.

Today general manager Mike Rizzo responded to that report, telling Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the Nationals have indeed gotten “several calls” about Lannan recently, but “we are not actively shopping him.”

Of course, it’s not as if Rizzo would ever say “yup, we’re trying to unload him as soon as possible” and ultimately even if he’s telling the truth that wouldn’t preclude the Nationals from getting an offer they liked and pulling the trigger immediately.

It’ll be interesting to see if some team is willing to part with a quality prospect for Lannan, because while his results so far have been decent (4.00 career ERA in 128 starts) his strikeout rate of 4.7 per nine innings is awful, his walk rate of 3.4 per nine innings is pretty bad too, and he’s making $5 million this season with another raise likely for 2013 via arbitration.

Report: Astros, Michael Brantley agree to two-year, $32 million contract

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.

Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.

Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.

Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.