Lannan signs with Phillies

Lannan signs with Phillies
December 15, 2012, 11:30 am
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The team -- and the town -- that has tormented John Lannan more than any other in his career is now his new home.

Lannan has agreed to terms with the Phillies on a one-year contract that guarantees $2.5 million in salary with an additional $2.5 million in incentives, according to a source close to the left-hander.

The deal is still contingent on the 28-year-old (who was not tendered a contract by the Nationals last month) passing a physical.

Nobody has made more starts for the Nationals in their eight-year history than Lannan, a member of the organization's first draft class of 2005. And the lefty faced no opponent during his six seasons more than the Phillies, with 19 of his 134 career starts against Washington's fiercest NL East rival.

The vast majority of those head-to-head encounters, though, went against Lannan and the Nationals' favor. His record in those 19 starts: 3-13 with a 5.53 ERA.

Lannan's numbers at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park were even worse: 2-5 with a 6.49 ERA and 1.962 WHIP in nine career starts. That includes his 2007 major-league debut, in which the shell-shocked, 22-year-old was ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendlestedt after hitting sluggers Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in succession despite no intention whatsoever on the rookie's part.

Utley broke his hand as a result of that plunking, and Phillies fans have seemingly held that against Lannan ever since, showering him with more boos than the typical visiting player when he's appeared at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies, though, have seen plenty of Lannan over the years and most likely are aware of this pertinent stat: If you remove his outings against Philadelphia, his career record is 39-39, his ERA a solid 3.80.

A two-time Opening Day starter and stalwart of the Nationals rotation from 2008-11, Lannan was surprisingly demoted to Class AAA Syracuse shortly before Opening Day this season, the Nationals electing instead to go with fellow left-hander Ross Detwiler as their No. 5 starter.

Lannan immediately requested a trade, but general manager Mike Rizzo would not accept any offers presented to him by counterparts, feeling it was more important to have Lannan on-call in Syracuse in case of injury to one of his five big-league starters. Rizzo also knew he would need someone to take Stephen Strasburg's place once the young ace was shut down in September.

Lannan wound up playing an important role in the Nationals' clinching of their first NL East title. He made six starts -- two during late-summer doubleheaders, then four as Strasburg's late-season replacement -- and went 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA. His final two outings each came against the Phillies, including a key win at Citizens Bank Park and then the Oct. 1 home game in which the Nationals clinched the division crown.

Who could have imagined at the time Lannan would wind up wearing a Philadelphia uniform the following spring?