Pirates Interested in John Lannan

Rob Biertempfel reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in left-hander John Lannan. The lefty was recently non-tendered by the Washington Nationals, and Biertempfel speculates that he could take a one year, $3 M deal.

Lannan isn’t the most attractive free agent option, but I’ve always felt he would make sense for the Pirates due to PNC Park. He’s got Zach Duke-like strikeout numbers, with a 4.7 K/9 in his career. However, he’s a lefty with an extreme ground ball rate. He was 56.9% last year in 32.2 innings, 54.1% in 184.2 innings in 2011, and 53% for his career. He’s also an innings eater, throwing 180 innings or more every year since 2008. Last year he threw 32.2 innings in the majors, and 148.2 innings in Triple-A, being stuck in the lower level due to a strong Washington rotation.

He would only be a back of the rotation guy, but would be a better option than Vin Mazzaro or Zach Stewart. His groundball rate would fit in well at PNC, and would probably allow him to put up numbers similar to his career 4.01 ERA. His innings would also help.

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Frankly, Lannan’s strikeout rate plus his lifetime 4.57 FIP puts me in the “thanks, but no thanks” camp, although I would like to see the #betterthanvinmazzaro hashtag explode on Twitter.


I don’t mind Lannan, but I would rather resign Jeff Karstens if I were Neil Huntington.

Stephen Brooks

Yes, but uncertainty has a price. When you compare Lannan to Karstens, you have to account for the 60-90 innings Karstens won’t pitch because some body part failed him. And those remaining innings are often soaked up by guys like Vin Mazzaro (or worse).

Lannan is a solid #4 , at below market price. If Hammer-for-Capuano is off the table, I like this deal as a backup.


I lived in Washington until August this year and Lannan doesn’t give in to hitters. He has a lot of decent games and is a lot better than a Jason Marquis or even Kevin Correia (although in a lot of ways he is similar to KC but he gets a little better results).

Thom Kay

I live in Washington and have watched a lot of Lannan, too. While I’m not a big fan, I will say that he’s solid. Lannan usually gives the team a chance to win, but doesn’t provide many dominant games. He’s at least as good as Correia, and just might be a great fit in Pittsburgh. He could be good in a middle relief role, as he’s great against lefties. A reliever who can do long relief and spot starts is nice. Not sure it’s $3M nice.
I’d prefer to trade Hanrahan for a starter like Capuano.


not exactly what i have in mind when i think “guy to improve the rotation,” but i could live with that i guess. his innings-eating capabilities are attractive, and i respect the heck out of how be outperforms his peripherals every single year.

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