If you were one of the hundreds of people that listened to the latest episode of Nats Talk on the Go - the Capitol Baseball/Nats Blog Podcast - you heard Joe and I discussing various landing spots of John Lannan. In the segment, we focused our attention on teams that had something that the Nats coveted - a young Centerfielder. We talked about the Rays, Angels, Orioles, and Pirates - eventually settling on the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen as the top target.
I don't think the team's thinking has changed on that, but according to a report filed yesterday by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe there is "a lot of speculation that the Nationals will deal him [Lannan] to the Angels for center fielder Peter Bourjos".
Those that listened to the Podcast know that we immediately dismissed the Angels as a target for a number of reasons; their staff is essentially locked down and Bourjos is way too good for the Angels to trade away. But any follower of prospects knows that Mike Trout, one of MLB's Top Prospects is blocked by Peter Bourjos. I think we need to dig a little bit deeper into the Angels' roster to see if this trade would be a good fit for both clubs.
The Angels have a ton of money on the books for 2012, $146.5 Million to be exact - with 5 outfielders responsible for $49 Million of it. Broken down as Vernon Wells making $21 Mil, Torii Hunter making $18 Mil, Bobby Abreu making $9 Mil, with Bourjos and Trout each making MLB Minimum or $450,000. Just absurd amounts of money.
There is no doubt that the Angels have some terrible contracts with Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter, and now Albert Pujols, but things are going to clear up in their outfield after this season with Hunter and Abreu both coming off the books. This year however, the team doesn't want to stunt the develop of Trout, who is clearly ready to play everyday. This leaves the Angels with a few options: 1. Cut Hunter and eat the remaining $18 Mil. 2. Trade away Bourjos, hampering the future to try to win now. 3. Suck it up and keep either Trout or Bourjos in the minors/on the bench.
I would've thought that the Angels would gladly take option 1 and stack the outfield with Wells, Trout and Bourjos but, according to this report, Bourjos may be on the trade block. If this is indeed the case, the Nationals need to try and make a deal for this to happen - though I have no clue what they would be interested in aside from Lannan.
The Angels have young, 4+ WAR players at each both SS (Kendrick) and 2B (Aybar) - eliminating Lombardozzi, Desmond, and Espinosa from the mix. They have first basemen galore in Albert Pujols, almost-ROY Mark Trumbo, and Kendrys Morales - eliminating LaRoche. They have too many outfielders already - eliminating Bernadina, Perez, and Hood. The only area where the Angels have an extra need is at catcher and I'm not sure that Jesus Flores is the piece that would put a Lannan-Bourjos deal over the top.
Ideally for the Angels, they would like to see at least one of the Nationals top prospects included in the trade but, outside of Harper, the rest of the top 5 (Rendon, Purke, Goodwin, and Meyer) is untouchable due to CBA rules requiring the most recent draft class to remain with their club for a year after being drafted.
So, where does this leave a possible trade? Who knows. Bourjos is definitely a piece that the Nats would love to add to their ballclub, cementing a future outfield of Harper, Bourjos, and Werth, but the two clubs don't seem to have enough in common to make a trade work.