Virtually every contending team is looking to add an experienced starting pitcher. The first place Washington Nationals (looks odd typing that) need some pitching depth, especially if they are going (insanely) limit Stephen Strasburg's innings.
So yesterday they added a 27 year old left hander who last year won double digit games with a sub 4 ERA. And what did it cost the team? A 33 year old outfielder batting .157 with an OPS+ of 31.
That's a hell of a trade. Especially since the pitcher they got went seven strong innings for the win last night.
Except of course it wasn't a trade. The Nationals designated struggling Xavier Nady for assignment and brought John Lannan up from the minor leagues.
What it really cost the Nationals was humiliation and anger from Lannan at the beginning of the season. And that may have been the most brilliant part of this roster move. With no room in the rotation when the season began, Lannan was the odd man out.
The Nationals sent him to Syracuse and Lannan was angry about it, demanding a trade. They did not trade him, no matter how tempting it would have been. And Lannan did not exactly light Triple-A on fire.
But now he is back, inserted into the rotation partially to give some relief to Strasburg. And Lannan might have a chip on his shoulder, eager to prove that he belongs on THIS level.
If the first game was any indication, humiliating an established pitcher in March might have been the best move in July.
Either way the Nationals got better without sacrificing a player who was even going to be on the roster.
I wonder if they have any more humiliated former big leaguers on the payroll.