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Nationals demote left-hander John Lannan and his $5 million salary to the minor leagues

Apr 3, 2012, 5:22 PM EDT

Florida Marlins v Washington Nationals Getty Images

UPDATE: It’s official, according to’s Bill Ladson. Lannan has been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and Detwiler will open the year as the Nationals’ fifth starter.


At the beginning of spring training John Lannan was rumored to be on the trading block and then when it became clear that Chien-Ming Wang wouldn’t be ready to start the season on the active roster because of a hamstring injury manager Davey Johnson all but named Lannan the Nationals’ fifth starter.

Those plans have apparently changed, as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals will option Lannan to Triple-A and will likely go with Ross Detwiler as their No. 5 starter.

Kilgore calls it a “stunning decision” and it’s easy to see why, as Lannan is a 27-year-old veteran with 751 career innings and makes $5 million. Washington gave him the Opening Day start in both 2009 and 2010, and last season he threw 185 innings with a 3.70 ERA.

Expect the trade speculation surrounding Lannan to ramp up again.

  1. Utley's Hair - Apr 3, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    They’re just resting him up so they can bring him in to face Utley when he gets back.

  2. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 3, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Orioles, Blue Jays, Padres and Mariners could all use him.

    • vanmorrissey - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:11 PM

      Padres would never go for him, he’d even be making more than any of their starters and they’re not adding payroll dollars to get him. Red Sox would seem prime candidate.

  3. CJ - Apr 3, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Doesn’t that make their their two highest paid minor leaguers’ (Lannan + Harper) make more than the rest of the salaries in that entire system combined?

  4. ezthinking - Apr 3, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    What a stupid article. The Nats won’t use a 5th starter until April 11, so he’s sent down to get a minor league start. They’ll carry an extra reliever.

    • CJ - Apr 3, 2012 at 6:16 PM

      “and will likely go with Ross Detwiler as their No. 5 starter”

      try ezreading instead next time…

      • ezthinking - Apr 3, 2012 at 6:28 PM

        I read it. “likely go with Detwiler” saw it. Detwiler likely will be send down tonight or tomorrow to get a start in the minors too. He threw an inning today after throwing 5 on Friday. Lannan threw 5 innings on Saturday. No spring training games left. So, head to minors to get ready.

        Really, this happens every year to fifth starters. Kilgore must still be in spring training mode to not at least acknowledge what is happening as rosters are being set.

    • DJ MC - Apr 3, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      I’ll trust the Nationals beat writer for the Washington Post saying what Gleeman is passing along.

    • djpostl - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:10 PM

      Except for the fact big league 5th starters don’t get sent down to the minors because of the scheduling quirks. They stay with the big league club and throw side sessions/simulated games etc..

  5. jyoung1891 - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Drew Storen, the Nationals’ closer, is out for at least two weeks. So their relief situation is unsettled. Detweiler has reliever experience, Lannan does not.

    If the Nationals were trying to maximize Lannan’s trade value, they wouldn’t be sending him to the minors.

  6. someguyinva - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    As I recall from earlier in the spring (and my memory’s not what it used to be) Lannan still had options, whereas Detwiler and other candidates for the 5th spot in the rotation did not. Guys without options can’t be sent down without being first exposed to waivers, and this probably played into the Nats’ decision here.

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