On Saturday I posted about the pending addition of Mike Adams to the Phillies bullpen.
Within two hours, the Phillies confirmed another signing.
The Phillies signed the non-tendered John Lannan to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, with another $2.5 million in incentives.
It’s a safe signing for a number 4 or 5 pitcher, and exactly the sort of solid move Phillies fans were hoping would come from the front office. We could see him fall into the number 5 spot to prevent three straight games with lefty starters.
Here are three things to expect, given his status as a back-end-of-the-rotation starter:
Including his stints in the minors, Lannan has pitched at least 180 innings in the last five seasons. That’s the kind of consistency you look for in a number 4 starter. In that regard, this signing is like the acquisition of Joe Blanton back in 2008. Blanton ate innings and kept the Phillies in games, and that’s the realistic expectation here.
2. Ground balls
Lannan has a career ground ball rate of 53.0%. That’s a plus in a stadium like Citizens Bank Park. I’ve heard some discussion about putting Freddy Galvis at third for Lannan’s starts, and depending on how Young re-adapts to the position, there may be something to the argument.
Though his numbers have not been good at Citizens Bank Park, he has not fared well against the Phillies in general (figures below). He obviously won’t have that problem the next time he takes the mound at CBP.
Lannan has a career 4.7 K/9. Don’t expect a lot of swing-and-miss at-bats when he’s on the mound.
This pitching style relies a lot on defense, but hey, it worked well enough for Jamie Moyer, right? Granted, Moyer has a career K/9 of 6.0, but he certainly relied heavily on solid defense.
As alluded to before, there are some intriguing career statistics. Todd Zolecki points out:
Interestingly, he is 3-13 with a 5.53 ERA in his career against the Phillies, but 39-39 with a 3.80 ERA against everybody else. If Lannan gives the Phillies 30-33 starts with a 3.80 ERA they will be thrilled.
Looking at this year’s stats, an ERA of 3.80 would have made a pitcher #46 in that category, in the middle of the pack for qualifying starters – not bad at all for a #5 starter.