NL East Notes: Lannan, Johnson, Hamels

With Jonathon Niese closing in on a contract extension with the Mets, let's look at some other news from around the NL East…

  • The Nationals announced they were optioning John Lannan to the minors, (a move first reported by Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post), which will make Ross Detwiler the club's fifth starter.  In a separate item, Kilgore examines the move and concludes "the Nationals quite clearly put financial interest last and what they believed to be the best baseball decision first."
  • The move is sure to spur on more rumors that the Nationals could trade Lannan, though GM Mike Rizzo told reporters (including Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington) that Detwiler won the job and that Lannan has drawn only "mild interest" on the trade market.'s Bill Ladson reports that the Nats were asking a high price for Lannan, and other teams weren't willing to part with a starting position player in exchange for the southpaw.  (Both links are to Twitter.)
  • Josh Johnson hasn't given any thought to how Matt Cain's extension with the Giants may impact any possible new deal between himself and the Marlins, reports's Joe Frisaro.  Johnson signed a four-year, $39MM extension with Miami that runs through the 2013 season.  Even if Johnson pitches up to form over the next two seasons, you'd have to figure that his injury history will limit the size and value of a contract extension. 
  • The Phillies offered Cole Hamels an extension worth "Jered Weaver money" (five years, $85MM) late last season, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Hamels now has a strong case for an extension worth at least as much as Cain's deal, Heyman notes.  The Giants' initial offer to Cain, Heyman says, was reportedly worth less than $65MM.
  • From earlier today, Chad Durbin switched NL East teams, signing with the Braves after being released by the Nationals.