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.

Astros officially announce the Michael Brantley signing

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The Astros officially announced their signing of outfielder Michael Brantley to a two-year, $32 million deal.

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.

As previously reported, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Brantley.