Lannan gets a chance to start anew

John Lannan has had a rough 2012 from a professional standpoint.

The 28-year-old left-hander went into spring training battling for a spot in the major league rotation. He ended up losing that battle, and then requested a trade only to have that request denied.

The guy who had twice been the Nationals’ opening day starter and had 128 major league starts under his belt found himself riding buses and taking the mound in front of miniscule crowds at Triple-A Syracuse.

Lannan came up to make six starts for the Nationals during the season, twice joining the team to pitch one half of a doubleheader and then returning to the major leagues in September to take the rotation spot of Stephen Strasburg once the Nats’ ace had reached his innings limit.

He was a part of the Nationals’ National League East title, winning four big league games in all, but then was left off the team’s playoff roster and had to watch from the dugout as the Nats lost to the Cardinals in the National League Division Series.

Today, Lannan is a free agent after being non-tendered by the Nationals prior to last night’s 11:59 p.m. deadline.

It represents the end of an eight-year run in the Nationals organization, and for Lannan, it’s probably a little tough to move on.

This is the only team he’s known after getting selected by the Nats in the 11th round of the 2005 first-year player draft, and he’s battled through the tough times to watch the organization become a winner. It can’t be easy to leave now that the Nats are on the right track towards postseason success.

At the same time, the Nats’ decision not to tender him a contract will give Lannan a chance to pick a team that truly wants him and will guarantee him a spot in their major league rotation.

In a free agent market in which plenty of teams have a need for starting pitching and plenty of teams have money to spend, Lannan should be a hot commodity. He’s still relatively young, is major league-proven and is an innings eater.

Oh, yeah, and he’s left-handed.

Lannan’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, should receive no shortage of calls from interested general managers, and Lannan will almost certainly have his pick of various multi-year offers.

In a business sense, Lannan hasn’t been able to control much this year. He handled the whole situation with class, and now has plenty of control over his future. That has to feel darn pretty good.

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