Mets sign John Lannan to minor league deal

Mike Ehrmann

The Mets have signed the veteran lefty to compete for the fifth starter's spot.

The New York Mets have signed left-handed starter John Lannan to a minor league contract. The Long Beach product will likely compete with Jenrry Mejia for the fifth starter's role.

Lannan's career numbers with the Nationals and Phillies aren't all that inspiring, pitching to the tune of a 4.08 ERA with 5.59 strikeouts-per-nine and 2.94 walks-per-nine. Nevertheless, Lannan could serve as the kind of back-of-the-rotation starter the Mets had been looking for all offseason—someone who can eat innings in the early part of the season before Noah Syndergaard is called up.

Before 2012, Lannan never had much of an injury history, having started at least 25 games every year, which included a minor league stint in 2010. Lannan pitched well in his 2011 campaign, but did not make the Nationals' roster out of spring training in 2012. He wound up pitching 32 innings before being non-tendered. His 2013 season with the Phillies was better through 14 starts, but Lannan ruptured a tendon in his leg that required season ending surgery.

Realistically, the main reason the Mets signed Lannan is to have him compete with Mejia, though he should also provide pitching depth once Rafael Montero and Syndergaard are ready. One can hope that the 29-year-old Lannan—who once was the Opening Day starter for the Nationals—can throw strikes and eat innings, at the minimum.

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