The Washington Nationals cut ties with John Lannan on Nov. 30 at the non-tender deadline. But the process of their once-longest-tenured pitcher beginning the next phase of his career didn’t fully take shape until Saturday morning.
Lannan agreed to a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, a person with knowledge of the agreement confirmed, pending a physical.
The deal, which is for $2.5 million in guaranteed money, reportedly contains $2.5 million in incentives that could help it reach $5 million — the same salary the left-hander made in 2012 with the Nationals when he spent the majority of the season pitching in Triple-A.
Lannan also still has one year of arbitration eligibility left as his service time clock was largely stopped when he spent so much time in the minors last season.
A former Opening Day starter for the Nationals, Lannan finished his career in D.C. with a 4.01 ERA over parts of six seasons in the major leagues. His best season was likely 2011, when he broke the 10-win threshold for the first time and posted a 3.70 ERA in 184 2/3 innings.
Both sides felt it was best when the Nationals decided to non-tender Lannan last month, the end to a difficult season for the 28-year-old. Despite the situation, Lannan played a pivotal role in the Nationals’ success in 2012, pitching in several key games for them and assuming Stephen Strasburg’s spot in the rotation in September.
But seeing him land in Philadelphia, and with the Nationals’ chief rival, is interesting, to be sure — if only because of Lannan’s colorful history with the Phillies and in Citizens Bank Park.
Lannan is 3-13 with a 5.53 ERA in his career against the Phillies. Inside Citizens Bank Park — where he made his memorable major league debut in 2007 by hitting Chase Utley with a pitch that broke his hand — he is 2-5 with a 6.49 ERA. It was his personal House of Horrors for much of his Nationals career.
It’s revisionist history, to be sure, but take out the Phillies — the largest thorn in Lannan’s side during his time with the Nationals — and his career numbers take on a significantly different look. His career ERA drops to 3.80 and his win-loss record becomes .500 (39-39) with 70 quality starts in 115 outings.
Lannan, of course, has never pitched against the Nationals and it will be interesting to see how he does against the team and the players who presumably know him better than anyone else. But he’s traditionally done well against the Atlanta Braves, and he still has the comfort of being in the same division he’s called home his entire major league career.
CSNPhiladelphia was the first to report the deal had been agreed upon, with CBSsports.com the first to note the guaranteed salary and incentives.