John Lannan asks to be traded

CHICAGO - Barely 24 hours after being skipped over for a spot in the Nationals' rotation and instead optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, left-hander John Lannan has asked the Nationals for a trade.

In an email to members of the local media, Lannan explained his decision, saying he has met with Nats general manager Mike Rizzo twice since being informed yesterday that he would not make the team's 25-man opening day roster, and told Rizzo, "I believe a trade would be the best solution for everyone in both the short and long term."

Lannan wrote that he was "certainly disappointed in the Nationals' decision" to send him to the minors, saying, "I believe that I belong in a big-league rotation. I am a proven major-league starting pitcher, with a track record of success."

The left-hander went on to say that he appreciates the opportunities the Nats have given him in his career, but wants the chance to contribute for a major league team.

"I've done a lot for this organization through some tough times," Lannan wrote. "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."

Lannan concluded by saying that he will continue to prepare for the season and does not plan on discussing his option to Triple-A any further.

"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," he wrote.

Lannan led the Nationals in wins last season and has twice been the organization's choice as its opening day starter. But after initially being announced as the Nats' No. 5 starter to begin this season, Lannan was informed during the third inning of yesterday's exhibition game against the Red Sox that he had been bumped out of the rotation by Ross Detwiler, and would instead be sent to Syracuse.

The Nationals have fielded calls on Lannan over the last few months, but the lefty's $5 million salary this season has been an impediment to a trade. Rizzo has said that he won't give Lannan away and cut into the Nats' starting pitching depth without receiving what he feels is fair value in return. But other teams are scared off by Lannan's price tag, and so far have been unwilling to give back much in return for the 27-year-old.

Here is the full text of Lannan's email:

"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."

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