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Lannan has another option

Nov 29, 2012, 7:50 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
John Lannan spent most of last season at Class AAA Syracuse.

The Nationals' unconventional decision to have veteran John Lannan pitch most of last season at Syracuse despite a $5 million salary seemed like a one-time move with no chance to be repeated.

Turns out the Nationals do have the ability to send the left-hander back to Class AAA in 2013 because he still has one remaining minor-league option.

The remaining option, confirmed by a club official, comes as a surprise to many who believed Lannan had already used up all three given to professional ballplayers. What most didn't realize what that the option the Nationals used on Lannan at the beginning of the 2008 season didn't count because he was recalled to the majors only eight days later.

The "option" terminology is a bit misleading, because each one encompasses an entire season. For example, Lannan was optioned to Syracuse three separate times this year, but that counted as only oneRead more »

  1. NatsLady - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Not a Lannan supporter as a member of the 2013 rotation, but it would be a shame if the Nats repeated his 2012 stretch in the minors, about which he spoke so eloquently a few months ago. Seems like a good guy, did relief work for Sandy, etc. I don't usually feel sorry for multi-millionaire athletes, but maybe just this once Rizzo should let go…

  2. sjm308 - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    I appreciate Natslady's sentiment but if this is about making the Washington Nationals the best team they can be, it makes no sense to let him go. He needs to compete for a spot in the starting rotation this spring. He needs to show other teams he is viable resource and if he is not our #5 then Rizzo can dangle him as part of a trade or do just what he did last year which makes us a better team. Non-tendering just makes no sense at all to me.We have Maya at around 2 million and no one is complaining about that. Again, its not my money even though Don would argue that in a way it is.I say keep him and use him to our best advantage.Go Nats!!

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Oooops. I stand corrected. But I seriously doubt he'll get to that.

  4. Don - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Adios Johnny. Good luck with your new club.

  5. JamesFan - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    It is time to end this misery for John and for the Nats. He's not part of the future and he should move on with best wishes.

  6. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Mark,thanks for clarifying. I don't want John to be tortured again in Cuse. If he is our #5, then fine, but I am sure Rizzo will tender him, then either trade him or Patterson him in Spring Training.They could also package him and JFlo to another team in Spring training.

  7. 3on2out - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    I'm jumping on Sjm's Lannan Wagan. Tender him…bring him to ST. He is a viable candidate for the 5th slot.BTW, will some one please refresh my memory? What is the deal with spelling it "LannEn"?

  8. sjm308 - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    3 on 2 out:back in the Riggleman era Lannan had really struggled with the Phillies. Not sure if this was a Riggs strategy or if he honestly mispelled it but he had LannEn on the lineup card and John went out and pitched a gem (well, good enough to win). This astute group here jumped on that and kept it up. I am as guilty as most but if you notice, for this post I spelled it correctly.

  9. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    I think optioning Lannan in 2013 is overkill. I think a rotation without Lannan would be better than one with him but nobody knows at this point where the fifth warm body is going to come from. So we assume Rizzo is going to sign somebody who's better than mediocre. At the same time, either of the AAA experiments (Garcia or Perry), Duke (has he really signed?) or Maya would be available on at least a short term basis if the hypothetical new fifth starter doesn't work out, or any of the starters is injured. Last year (A) they knew they would need a full-time "sixth" starter at season's end; (B) Duke was an unknown quantity; (C) Wang was hurt; (D) Maya wasn't good enough to be more than an emergency fill-in. In light of all that, Lannan's 2012 option made eminent sense. If Lannan's the best No. 5 they've got going into Spring Training, fine, but — if they sign someone else — I don't think the justification for optioning Lannan is there. Aside from that, I think making Lannan ride the bus again would rub a number of veterans the wrong way and be an unnecessary clubhouse irritant.

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    a trade is more respectable than non-tender. I can't believe no other team is willing to give him a shot in their rotation. I guess they are just waiting for Nats to non-tender him.

  11. 3on2out - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    ThEnks, Sjm. I Em EnlightEnEd!

  12. Candide - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Maya? Seriously? Could someone explain to me how he'd be an upgrade from Lannan, apart from being cheaper? He hasn't proven to anyone that he's a major league pitcher, and was okay, at best, in Syracuse.And he's 31 years old. I'd be looking to package HIM instead of Lannan.

  13. Section 222 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Agree with Theo on the ultimate outcome (use him as your No. 5 or not, but don't send him to 'Cuse), but that still argues for tendering a contract at the end of this week. I very much hope and expect Lannan will not be our No. 5 next year, but that doesn't mean he should be released now.With Stras being scheduled to be shut down in September, it made great sense to keep him in the minors last year. Doing that this year would be unnecessarily cruel to a guy who surely can pitch for a lesser team. Besides, a minimum of $4 million is a lot to pay for insurance. If he's not going to make the rotation, and no one is biting him as trade bait, then Patterson him and move on. It's fascinating though that we all assumed that they were using his third option last year and we only find out now that in fact it was his second. His meteoric rise to the big leagues (made possible by our really crappy starting pitching in 2008) really came back to bite him.

  14. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    BAM: We have our CFNationals PR‏@NationalsPR The #Nationals today acquired OF Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league RHP Alex Meyer.

  15. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    I have a feeling this is the end for Adam. Sigh.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    Michele….or more like goodbye Michael Morse

  17. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    NJ. Only if I see Adam signed soon. Hey Rizzo when you are not golfing this weekend, will you bring the contract and follow Adam around until he signs it!!!!

  18. Joe Seamhead - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Denard Span is now a National. Good-bye Alex Meyer.

  19. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    And this from Barry:Barry Svrluga‏@barrysvrlugaNats trade for CF Denard Span. So no LaRoche re-signing, Morse at first and Werth/Harper at corners. Fifth starter, bullpen and done

  20. blovy8 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    I don't mind that deal. Meyer is good, but he's in high A, Span will make the outfield defense great. I'd rather have him than Upton really.

  21. Don - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Nice! Span is a legit go-get-it CF. Werth and Harper cover the corners, Werth gets out of lead-off and they either trade Morse and sign ALR or go with Morse at 1B and have coins around for a high quality SP and/or lefty RP. Nice move by Rizzo.

  22. pdowdy83 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Well done Rizzo! I was really starting to believe the team was going to move on Bourn which would have been no good at all. Meyer projects more as a reliever than a starter long term and Span is very affordable for 2 seasons plus an option for '15 at $9 million which still isn't terrible.

  23. Section 222 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Wow. Big time move by Rizzo. Seems most likely that ALR moves on, but maybe Rizzo pulls the trigger and offers him 3 years and big bucks while packaging Morse in a trade for a serious controllable pitcher. Bernadina, Lombo, Clip, Storen, even Espi could be part of such a deal.From what I understand, Meyer was a very good prospect, showing once again that Rizzo knows what he's doing in the draft — draft power pitching, keep the best, trade the rest for the pieces you need to win.

  24. blovy8 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Yeah, it puts some pressure on LaRoche, but Morse would is still somewhat valuable in a trade since his salary is reasonable and it's only one year for a club that needs offense who can move him around a bit.

  25. natscan reduxit - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    … okay, I know Adam is a free agent and will control his own future, whereas Mike is not an FA until 2014. But that aside, I'd rather sign Adam to three years and trade Mike for whatever we can get for him.Go Nats!!

  26. MikeinDC - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!Do NOT do that to this guy again! It was the right call last year to make Det the #5, kudos to Rizzo. But it's not right to do to Lannan 2 years in a row.Keep him or cut him loose. His dedication and loyalty deserve a real shot at the bigs.

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Good trade. Rizzo wasn't describing Bourn, he already knew he had Span. Good ole Riz!My observations on Meyer was a top closer unless he can perfect his secondary pitches he's a fastball guy.

  28. waddu eye no - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    Isnt span the guy mentioned as a possible trade for drew last year? Had concussion probs or simething?

  29. natsfan1a - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Riggleman accidentally spelled it that way on a lineup card when he was facing the Phillies, who had owned John to that point. He went on to beat them that day. The rest is history. :-)I have similar sentiments to NatsLady and Michele on this.3on2out said… BTW, will some one please refresh my memory? What is the deal with spelling it "LannEn"? November 29, 2012 3:23 PM

  30. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Waddu you are correct. Span for Storen was talked about. Span had concussions he seemed to be okay at the end of last year.

  31. natsfan1a - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Oops, didn't notice that Kieran's grandad already had it. :-)

  32. natsfan1a - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    (The LannEn story, that is.)

  33. Teddy Rochlis - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    liking the trade by rizzo, once again showing us his brilliance. in case anyone is curious here is the new national slash for a 162 game season AB:647Runs:99 Hits:184 2B:29 3B10 HR:6 RBI:63 SB:25 CS:8 BB:70 SO:88 BA:.284 OBP:.357 SLG:.389 OPS:.746notice only 88ks a year a lot less then bourn + 2 years younger, well done rizzo i commend you yet again

  34. natsfan1a - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Didn't see that one coming (Span trade). I'm no armchair GM, but I kinda like it.

  35. JD - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Here is the good news: Span is signed through 2014 . His salary for 2013 is $4.75 mil and in 2014 it's $6.5 mil. There is also a club option for 2015 for $9 mil. Compare that to what Bourne is looking for in the open market and you see that Rizzo did really well here.

  36. JD - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Ghost, Agreed on Meyer; he is still a project and is likely at least 2 years away with absolutely no certainty that he has the repertoire to be a starter. What this means is as I've said here before; Morse won't play the outfield for us next year and that is a good thing. ALR at 1st for 2 year is optimal with Morse in a trade to the AL for some pitching help.

  37. Teddy Rochlis - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    looks like Mark is going to have to come out with a new article about the newest national hopefully sooner rather then later.

  38. Joe Seamhead - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Joe Seamhead - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    My point is that though Span's LH bat is important, and his defense is important, but Morse weakens the IF and Span's bat is not a replacement for ALR"s bat. I also feel that with Span in CF, Werth moves to LF,where he will be better then Morse, and Harper goes to right, where he maybe won't initially get as good of a read as Werth did, but he learns fast.

  40. Joe Seamhead - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    My gut feeling is that though Span's LH bat is important, and his defense is important, but Morse weakens the IF and Span's bat is not a replacement for ALR"s bat. I also feel that with Span in CF, Werth moves to LF,where he will be better then Morse, and Harper goes to right, where he maybe won't initially get as good of a read as Werth did, but he learns fast.I have been a big Morse fan from very early on, but he is not on the same level as Adam LaRoche at first base. If the Nats go into 2013 with Michael Morse as their first baseman,I doubt seriously that they will repeat as NL East champions. I think this trade today means that ALR will be back, Morse will get packaged in a trade for a starting pitcher.

  41. DaveB - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    So much for Boswell's "we're just gonna stand pat" article.

  42. Centerville 62 - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    There are two things that Rizzo looks for in players. Pitchers must throw heat. Position players must be good defenders. ALR comes back. Morse is gone.

  43. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Centerville 62….there is a third "must" for Rizzo and that is impeccable clubhouse demeanor.

  44. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    peric was over on Nationals Prospects saying Span is a Nyjer Morgan with good character. Man, he sure is good for a laugh.

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W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
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W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
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