Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The Phillies announced their signing of John Lannan, making official the departure of the Nationals’ career leader in starts to their most fervent National League East rival. As the contract became official, Lannan’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Sports, explained in a statement how the deal came to be.

“John made it clear to me at the beginning of this process that he valued opportunity above all else,” Van Wagenen said. “It became clear that the Phillies were a unique fit for John to secure his spot in a rotation for a winning team.

“We had very candid discussions with [Phillies GM Ruben Amaro] about the construction of his team and how John could fit into the puzzle. After the [Vance] Worley trade, we were able to move quickly to strike a deal that met both side’s goals.”

Last year, the Nationals’ decision to send ship Lannan to the minor leagues stung the left-hander. He still made $5 million, but he lost an expected year of service time, which means he will be eligible for arbitration again at the end of this season. Lannan will make $2.5 million in 2012, with the chance to earn more in incentives.

“John sees this contract and situation as a springboard, both to reaffirming his status as a Major League starter and to future earnings,” Van Wagenen said.

Lannan’s agent noted his relative success against opponents other than the Phillies, his biggest torment – if you remove his starts against Philadelphia, Lannan’s career ERA would shrink from 4.01 to 3.80. Van Wagenen also noted the crummy (my word, not Van Wagenen’s) Nationals teams on which Lannan played for most of his career.

“We expect John to benefit from much better run support – an issue that has plagued him throughout his career through no fault of his own,” Van Wagenen said. “The Phillies over the past five seasons have given their starting pitchers 25 percent more run support than the Nationals gave John – which was the worst support in the entire National League.”