PHILADELPHIA -- A day after having a strong performance against the Nationals, Phillies left-hander John Lannan expressed no ill feeling toward his former team. Lannan acknowledged it was weird facing the Nationals, the team that drafted him in 2005 and non-tendered him after last season.
"I knew I had to go out there and face them like any other opponent, and I did," Lannan said.
Lannan was Washington's Opening Day starter in 2009 and '10. During most of his years with the Nationals, Lannan often led the team in victories. Before the 2012 season started, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Lannan was going to be in the rotation. It turned out Lannan was sent to Triple-A Syracuse, while Ross Detwiler became the fifth starter in the rotation.
After he was sent down, Lannan sent an email to the local media indicating that he wanted to be traded. Lannan wasn't traded and showed professionalism for the rest of the season. He managed to pitch in six big league games and had a respectable 4.13 ERA in 2012. What helped Lannan get through the season?
"The one email I sent out was out of frustration," Lannan said. "I usually don't try to do that. You always got to look at things happening for a reason. It was kind of hard at the time, getting sent down. The staff did such a great job last year and I got kind of stuck down there. I got to work on things with [Syracuse pitching coach] Greg Booker down in Triple-A. You kind of look at the small things to get by. It makes right now worth it."
After making six starts and being non-tendered, Lannan knew it would be tough to find a job. But he took his time and signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Phillies. Lannan has one more year of arbitration before becoming a free agent after the 2014 season.
"I weighed the pros and cons of each situation, and this situation felt best," Lannan said. "Just being around the Phillies from the other side and what they are capable of, this staff intrigued me. I learned a lot from these guys. I wanted to go to a competitor. I wanted to go to a team that was out there to win. That was the biggest thing."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.