Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lannan and other Opening Day thoughts

John Lannan Wants To Work For Food | Nationals Inquisition:

'via Blog this'

In a way, you can't blame John Lannan for asking for a trade.  Especially if the narrative, which we have to construct, is that Davey told him he's the #5 starter and then (after some stage whispers from above) he suddenly was on a bus to Syracuse.  It would be difficult to perform for an organization that basically lied to your face.

Even given the worst case scenario, it is not in the Nats interest to move Lannas just to move him.  I hear all this oh his $5m salary is going to be a sticking point.  Really.  I dare you to name the #4 and #5 starters for the AL East powerhouse Boston Red Sox?

I know Lannan defies all the statistical profiles, he really shouldn't be a league average hurler.  I know the K rates stink but the fact is over the past three seasons he's been every bit the league average as you could be.  And for many teams, that would be a huge upgrade.  Without a lot of injury risk either.

Hold out for something of value. Preferably a prospect even one a long way away.

It's kind of a strange feeling Opening Day 2012.  There are actual expectations now.  As pessimistic as I want to be I really can't.  There is no reason this team shouldn't be at least .500 barring massive injuries.  And if you can be .500, you have a shot at getting a little lucky and being in the thick of a wild card race.  Losses will hurt now rather than just be part of the rebuilding process.  Wins are now expected or at least taken somewhat for granted, they should win half the time now.  It's like the transition from the Wizards to the Capitals.  For the Wiz, any hopeful sign is welcome while the Caps failure is harshly judged.  This team is moving from the one to the other and it will be interesting to see how these expectations are managed early on.

One more thing. To all you bemoaning the lack of a true Centerfielder on the Opening Day roster . . . pray tell where would you have found one this off season?  In case you didn't know, it is one of the most difficult positions to fill.  Plus defenders with at least on base skills are hard to come by and not easily given up.  Leaving the position essentially open means a possible Harper transition is easier (although I am increasingly becoming of a mind that we won't see Bryce till September. Just a hunch perhaps my natural pessimism rearing its ugly head.)

If nothing else, it will be satisfying to look at the daily pitching matchups on any given day and think We've got a damn good shot today!  That's something I never said in the Martin/Simontachi/Martis years.

As for a prediction, I'll say 82-80.  And that's because I think they are much better than last year but last year's 80 wins was slightly above what they really were.  So 82 wins is really a nice leap.  And it would set the stage for a no doubt about it run in 2013.

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