Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
John Lannan is not necessarily loved in Philadelphia. According to a report by CSNPhilly's Jim Salisbury this morning, however, he signed a 1-year deal with the Phillies. The Washington Nationals' '05 11th Round pick made his MLB debut in Citizens Bank Park back in July of 2007 in a game which saw him ejected for hitting both Chase Utley (whose hand Lannan broke with the HBP) and Ryan Howard (after Howard had homered off the Nats' lefty earlier in the game) in successive at bats. That was the start of a mostly one-sided rivalry. Lannan went (3-13) in 19 career starts against the Nationals' NL East rivals, posting a 5.53 ERA over 94.1 IP in which he walked 44 (4.20 BB/9) and K'd 50 (4.77 K/9). The Nationals' left-hander wouldn't beat the Phillies until his 14th career start against them in June of 2011.
The two-time Nats' Opening Day starter lost in arbitration with the Nationals last winter, receiving a $5M salary for 2012, then ended up getting optioned to Triple-A Syracuse at the end of Spring Training, a week after manager Davey Johnson had anointed him the team's fifth starter. The Nationals went with Ross Detwiler instead after Chien-Ming Wang suffered an injury that altered the team's plans. Lannan, who was understandably upset with the decision, requested a trade and made his request public by emailing the Nationals beat writers to let them know.
Washington reportedly listened to offers for the left-hander, but never dealt Lannan, who was called upon to make two spot starts during the 2012 campaign and eventually took Stephen Strasburg's place in the Nationals' rotation in September when the right-hander was shut down for the season in his first full-year back from Tommy John surgery. Lannan finished the year with a 4.13 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 14 walks (3.86 BB/9) and 17 Ks (4.68 K/9) in six starts and 32.2 IP at the major league level and a (9-11) record with a 4.30 ERA, 4.46 FIP, 3.03 BB/9 and 5.27 K/9 in 24 starts and 148.2 IP with the Nationals' top affiliate.
Davey Johnson praised Lannan's work this season toward the end of the year, telling reporters he was impressed with the lefty's approach during what was undoubtedly a rough season for the pitcher personally. "I think he's handled everything great," Johnson said, "When he got sent down, he went down there to work on things. And he didn't go down there with his head hung down. He took it as a challenge to get better down there and he certainly came up and pitched some really good gems."
The Nats non-tendered the left-hander earlier this winter, ending his time with the organization after 134 career starts in which he put up a 4.01 ERA, a 4.57 FIP, 3.40 BB/9 and 4.71 K/9 in 783.2 IP. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo explained the decision to non-tender Lannan in a Washington Post article by Adam Kilgore, telling the reporter simply, "'We felt it was time for John to move on. To tender him a contract at the money he was going to make, it didn’t make sense for us.'"
Lannan became a free agent, and according to reports this morning, the lefty has signed a deal with the Nationals' NL East rivals from Philadelphia:
Sources: Phillies have agreement with LHP John Lannan, pending a physical. Busy weekend for Phils, who also have agreement w RHP Mike Adams— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) December 15, 2012
lannan gets $2,5M guraranteed— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 15, 2012
lannan can make additional $2.5M in performance bonuses w/ phillies, so could be $5M total. long beach (ny) high grad— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 15, 2012
#Phillies have agreed to one-year deal with John Lannan, pending physical. Lannan is 3-13, 5.53 vs Phillies, 39-39, 3.80 vs everyone else.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 15, 2012