Lannan, Flores among non-tender candidates

Lannan, Flores among non-tender candidates

Lannan, Flores among non-tender candidates
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals currently have 10 players -- Roger Bernadina, Tyler Clippard, Ross Detwiler, Ian Desmond, Jesus Flores, Tom Gorzelanny, John Lannan, Craig Stammen, Drew Storen and Jordan Zimmermann -- who are arbitration-eligible. Two of them -- Flores and Lannan -- are expected to be non-tendered by Friday. The deadline to tender a contract is 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday.

Lannan, who made $5 million last year, lost his rotation spot to Detwiler and spent most of the season at Triple-A Syracuse. When he returned to the big leagues in September, Lannan replaced Stephen Strasburg in the rotation after Strasburg reached his innings limit. However, Lannan was taken off the playoff roster when the Nats faced the Cardinals in the National League Division Series.

One baseball source said the Nationals would love to have Lannan back, "but not for $5 million." Washington heads into the Winter Meetings looking for a starter to replace right-hander Edwin Jackson in the rotation.

Once he becomes a free agent, Lannan could be a great fit for the Yankees, who are looking for pitching help. Lannan's best season was in 2011, when he led the Nats in wins with 10 and had a 3.70 ERA in 33 starts.

As far as Flores is concerned, there doesn't seem to be any room for him. The Nationals enter the 2013 season with Kurt Suzuki and Wilson Ramos as the catchers. And don't forget that Sandy Leon is waiting in the wings.

Flores lost his job as the starting catcher last August after the Nats acquired Suzuki from the Athletics. Washington was unhappy with Flores' game-calling. It was learned that Flores would often go against the game plan against opposing hitters. There were even some in the organization who felt that Flores cared more about his offense than his game-calling.

Flores made $850,000 last year and hit .213 with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 83 games. At one point, it looked like Flores was going to be an All-Star catcher, but on May 9, 2009, he was hit on the right shoulder by a Chris Young foul tip in Phoenix. Flores would miss over two years of action because of the injury.

By the time Flores returned to the big leagues, Ramos had already emerged as one of the top young catchers in the NL.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.