Lost in the Phillies’ disappointing 2012 season is the fact that they still featured a very good starting rotation — Philadelphia starters combined for 16.6 WAR last year, good for the the fifth highest mark in baseball according to FanGraphs. When your pitching staff features the likes of Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Roy Halladay, the results are usually pretty positive.
Joining that aforementioned trio (and Vance Worley, in all probability) is the incredibly underwhelming — but nonetheless reliable — soft-tossing lefty John Lannan, who agreed to a one-year contact worth $2.5 million earlier today. The 28-year-old has pitched only for the Nationals in his professional career, although he only made six starts with the parent club in 2012. The majority of his season was spent at Triple-A Syrcause, where he wasn’t particularly impressive in just under 150 innings.
One only has to look at Lannan’s peripherals to see that he’s nothing special – a career K/9 rate of 4.7 and a BB/9 rate of 3.4 is hardly indicative of dominance, but he’s cleared the 1.0 WAR mark in four separate seasons in his big league career, so he’s not entirely without merit at the bottom of a rotation. Given that the Phillies are not in the market for anything other than a fifth starter and general rotation insurance, this isn’t a bad deal.
It may be a little expensive for a guy who’s coming off almost a full season of minor league action as a 27-year-old, however.