In the most recent episode of Nats Talk On The Go, we speculated about who the Washington Nationals would try to acquire in a trade for John Lannan. We handily dismissed the idea that the Los Angeles Angels would even consider getting rid of CF stud Peter Bourjos, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is reporting that “there is a lot of speculation” that the deal is not as far off as we thought.
Bourjos is entering his age 25 season and last season was his first full season of MLB experience. During that year, he put up a .271/.327/.438 slash line. He stole 22 bases and netted 11 triples, and all-in-all had 49 extra base hits. In the field, he earned an .989 fielding percentage with 7 assists from center field and just 4 errors in 361 chances. He had an impressive 7.5 UZR in center field next season, and while that small sample size could be a bit deceptive for UZR, his non-advanced stats show it may not be an anomaly with more than 350 chances. All told, this impressive first full year gives Bourjos a 5.0 WAR rating according to Baseball-Reference.com, putting him in All-Star territory. If traded, Bourjos would likely be replaced by former top MLB prospect Mike Trout.
John Lannan would add to the back end of an incredibly strong starting rotation featuring Jared Weaver, CJ Wilson, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. Angel Stadium gets an even more favorable park factor than Nationals Park, which would help Lannan. However, move to the AL would certainly make things more difficult, without the pitcher’s spot to help him out. It’s hard to see his career 4.00 ERA going down in the American League.
These reports are obviously not for a one-for-one trade, and the Nationals would have to deplete the farm even further to get this move to happen. Bourjos fills the Nats largest void, center field, and the Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is fully aware of that. As such, he will likely request a huge package in return. It may not be quite as prospect-expensive as the Gio Gonzalez trade, but it would hurt and would certainly include more top 10 prospects from the organization. Just remember, teams build strong minor league systems to use those prospects to get high-caliber MLB talent. Being that center field is the biggest need that remains to prevent the Nationals from competing, it may very well be worth the cost.