Nationals demote left-hander John Lannan and his $5 million salary to the minor leagues

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UPDATE: It’s official, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. Lannan has been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and Detwiler will open the year as the Nationals’ fifth starter.

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At the beginning of spring training John Lannan was rumored to be on the trading block and then when it became clear that Chien-Ming Wang wouldn’t be ready to start the season on the active roster because of a hamstring injury manager Davey Johnson all but named Lannan the Nationals’ fifth starter.

Those plans have apparently changed, as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals will option Lannan to Triple-A and will likely go with Ross Detwiler as their No. 5 starter.

Kilgore calls it a “stunning decision” and it’s easy to see why, as Lannan is a 27-year-old veteran with 751 career innings and makes $5 million. Washington gave him the Opening Day start in both 2009 and 2010, and last season he threw 185 innings with a 3.70 ERA.

Expect the trade speculation surrounding Lannan to ramp up again.

Padres reportedly interested in J.T. Realmuto

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LAS VEGAS — Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Padres have “genuine interest” in Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto.

The Mets have been the most frequently mentioned suitor for Realmuto’s services, but over the weekend a report emerged that that their talks with Miami had lost some momentum, so perhaps that creates an opening for some other teams. For their part, the Padres have a loaded farm system which may interest the Marlins a great deal, even if they’ve publicly said they want major league talent for their best player. San Diego’s interest in Realmuto is obviously, of course. He’s probably the best catcher in the game at the moment. If, as some suspect, the Padres are poised to turn the corner into competitiveness in 2019, Realmuto could play a key role in that.

Realmuto, who will be 28 on Opening Day, hit .277/.340/.484 with 21 homers last year, which earned him both All-Star and Silver Slugger honors. He’s also one of the best defensive catchers in the game. It’d take a haul of talent to get him, but he is easily the most appealing position player on the trading block this offseason.