In absolutely stunning news, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post is reporting that John Lannan will be optioned to Triple-A Syracuse in favor of Ross Detwiler. It was widely assumed that Lannan had a lock on the No. 5 spot after Chien-Ming Wang got hurt this spring, but apparently the organization had other plans. The Nats Blog’s Patrick Hilley wrote about this just yesterday, questioning the decision to have Lannan in the rotation over Detwiler.
Detwiler had an extremely impressive spring, allowing just six earned runs in 17.2 IP, and was great last September after being called up. However, Lannan was coming off of a great year last year and is due to earn $5 million this season. Lannan, though, is the only pitcher competing for a spot with remaining minor league options. Kilgore says that Lannan’s salary makes him “the highest-paid player in baseball history to be optioned to the minor leagues before the end of spring training.”
Davey Johnson has said that he wants two long relievers in his bullpen to start the season, and Detwiler’s likely move to the rotation opens the possibility that Craig Stammen could make the 25-man roster after all. It was widely assumed that Ryan Mattheus was the heavy favorite for the final spot in the bullpen, but now an extra spot looks like it has opened.