WASHINGTON – After Tuesday’s exhibition finale against the Red Sox at Nationals Park, the club surprisingly demoted left-handed pitcher John Lannan to Triple-A Syracuse and now Lannan has asked GM Mike Rizzo and the Nationals to trade him.
Lannan has started two of the last three Opening Days for the Nationals. He led the team in wins last season with ten and innings pitched with 184 2/3. He is scheduled to make $5-million dollars this year in his second year of arbitration eligibility.
Lannan was tabbed the fifth starter by manager Davey Johnson during spring training after the hamstring injury to Chien-Ming Wang but then the organization had a change of heart in the final days.
Lannan had been the subject of trade rumors throughout the off-season and even though Rizzo has said the team wasn’t trying to trade the 27-year old, those rumors resurfaced again in the final week of spring training.
Rizzo told reporters there was “mild interest” in Lannan throughout the spring. Lannan was told of his demotion by Johnson in the third inning of Tuesday’s game but he left the ball park without speaking to reporters after the game.
Wednesday evening Lannan sent an e-mail to reporters which said:
“I know everyone wants to ask me about yesterday’s news, so I wanted to make sure I got back to you.
I am certainly disappointed in the Nationals’ decision. I met with Mike Rizzo for the second time since I received the news to tell him exactly how I feel, and my agent has also spoken to Mike. I know what my rights and the team’s rights are, and while I am still a member of the Washington Nationals organization, I let Mike know that I believe a trade would be the best solution for everyone in both the short and long term.
I believe that I belong in a big-league rotation. I am a proven major-league starting pitcher, with a track record of success.
I appreciate all the opportunities the Nationals organization has given me throughout the years. I’ve done a lot for this organization through some tough times. I anticipated on being part of the team’s next exciting chapter. If the Nationals feel they don’t need me or want me with the current make-up of the team, I can respect their decision. However, I’m very confident that I am capable of making a meaningful contribution to a major-league team.
This transaction will not change who I am or how I approach my business. I will continue to prepare myself for the season and look forward to the opportunity to pitch for a major-league team in the near future. I appreciate the space that you have given me over the past 24 hours. This will be the last time that I make any public comments on yesterday’s transaction or my future with the Nationals’ organization. My focus from here on out will be on playing the game that I love and demonstrating the professionalism that I have exhibited throughout my career. Thank you again for your patience since yesterday’s announcement.”