Yahoo!Sports.com's Kevin Kaduk wrote this morning in an article entitled, "John Lannan’s surprise demotion qualifies as the anti-feelgood story as opening day draws near", that the story of the Washington Nationals' decision (announced during yesterday's game) to option John Lannan to Triple-A Syracuse was not for baseball fans, "... looking for a heartwarming, hope-springs-eternal story for the start of baseball season." The Nationals opted to go with 26-year-old '07 1st Round pick Ross Detwiler as their fifth starter just a week after Nats' skipper Davey Johnson had told reporters that Lannan had won the spot.
As the Nationals' manager told reporters yesterday after the news leaked, the decision was not a sign of any disappointment with Lannan's work on the mound, but really more about giving Ross Detwiler an opportunity to get more major league starts while Chien-Ming Wang is on the DL and the fact that Lannan is not comfortable pitching out of the bullpen.
"When I decided on Lannan staying in the rotation," the 69-year-old Nats' bench manager explained, "Detwiler was having a better Spring. He had a better Spring last year. We still don't know exactly how good Det can be, and there's a window there with... I think Chien-Ming Wang's going to come back and be outstanding... It's kind of part of development. When a guy's screaming, 'I'm ready,' I had a change of heart."
Not surprisingly, reports tonight are saying that Lannan has emailed reporters directly to inform them that he's requested a trade...
• via The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP):
Lannan's precise words: "I let Mike know that I believe a trade would be the best solution for everyone in both the short and long term."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) April 4, 2012
More Lannan: "I believe that I belong in a big-league rotation. I am a proven major-league starting pitcher with a track record of success."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) April 4, 2012
• via The Washington Times' Amanda Comak (@AComak):
Lannan via e-mail, says that he is "disappointed" in the #Nationals decision. "I believe that I belong in a big league rotation."— Amanda Comak (@acomak) April 4, 2012
• via WTOP's Craig Heist (CHeistWTOP):
Lannan tells Rizzo "I let Mike know that I believe a trade would be the best solution for everyone in both the short and long term."— Craig Heist (@cheistWTOP) April 4, 2012
The Nationals were reportedly "shopping" Lannan around the league after they signed Edwin Jackson, but as D.C. GM Mike Rizzo said at the time, "We're certainly always open to [making] a deal that makes sense for us, and if it can improve the ballclub, but we did not acquire Edwin Jackson to trade another starting pitcher." There was reportedly not much interest in the left-hander, however, or at least not the return the Nationals were looking for in a deal for the 5th-year pro who's going to make $5M dollars this season after losing his arbitration case this Spring. Will the Nationals settle for less now that Lannan's gone public with his request?
• Here's a link to NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman's report which includes the full text of the email Lannan sent to reporters tonight.