The New York Mets signed left-handed starting pitcher John Lannan to a minor league deal on Saturday. His career has spanned seven years with the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies. In those seven seasons, Lannan has a 45-58 record with a 4.12 ERA and 448 strikeouts. Lannan also has a 7.6 career WAR.
The problem with Lannan is that his once-promising career has been decimated by injuries and bad luck. Lannan had season-ending knee surgery last year with the Phillies and in 2012 when he lost the fifth spot in the Nationals’ rotation to Ross Detwiler. The Mets signing Lannan gives him another chance to prove that he still belongs in the majors.
This time, Lannan will have to pitch better in the spring to land a spot over Jenrry Mejia or Dillon Gee. Mejia is expected to claim a spot while Gee could be on the outs after re-signing with New York on a one-year deal. Right now, the rotation is booked up, but there could be a spot for him somewhere if he pitches well enough.
Lannan could also find a spot in the Mets’ bullpen to add some insurance in the sixth and seventh innings, but the 29-year-old will probably not settle for that.
For Lannan to pass on Gee, manager Terry Collins will have to really see something in him. Gee is coming off a bounce-back season after missing the 2012 season. Mejia was shut down last season after bone chips were found in his elbow. If he is unhealthy to begin the season, Lannan will scoop up the fifth spot in the Mets’ rotation.