Mets Sign John Lannan

The Mets have signed lefthanded pitcher John Lannan to a minor-league contract and invited him to spring training.

It’s about time that Long Beach, Long Island native John Lannan has joined the Mets — right?

In addition to being a local boy, I’ve been a personal fan of Lannan because, like me, he played his college ball in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Not that you care, but in case you do, Lannan “stayed home” (sort of) by playing at Siena College after starring at Chaminade High School in Mineola. I suppose attending C.W. Post would have truly been staying home, but at least he remained in New York State.

But I digress …

Lannan had flashes of brilliance early in his career, and made 33 starts in 2011, spinning 184 innings, winning 10 games, and posting a 3.70 ERA for a .500 Nationals club. However, his mechanics were always dangerous, and he started having elbow issues in 2009 — possibly earlier. Although he never had Tommy John surgery, Lannan has struggled with strains of the flexor tendon in his elbow for years, an issue that may have also resulted in shoulder fatigue (he changed his arm angle to alleviate pain in the elbow). He’s also had knee problems, and last year with the Phillies, he suffered a debilitating quadriceps strain that kept him out of a big chunk of the season.

Despite his physical woes, I like this signing — it was one I’d hope to see a year ago. He’ll compete for the fifth-starter spot in the rotation, and though he may not go north with the big club come April, he’s exactly the type of veteran starter to stash in AAA as depth that undoubtedly will be needed at some point in the season. Signing him to a minor-league deal means the Mets have no risk, and there’s a decent chance that he stays healthy and holds down the #5 spot. If he does, expect him to be a five-inning pitcher who will keep his team in the game at least that long, and may pitch through the sixth frame on occasion.

What’s your thought? Are you happy to see John Lannan in Flushing’s fold? Why or why not? Answer in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Izzy January 20, 2014 at 7:51 am
    He also pitches a heck of a lot faster than DiceK does, making watching games tolerable. He also has that “positive” attitude that is so important for younger players his age as he didn’t go off publicly when the Nats stashed him in Syracuse most of the 12 season despite his 5 mil salary. Maybe he likes upstate NY more than anyone thinks? But does he have an out clause in this deal like so many veterans are getting? Other than that,there’s usually nothing wrong with any minor league signing.
  2. DaveSchneck January 20, 2014 at 9:09 am
    Agreed, he is a just what they need to compete for the #5. Too bad they don’t have more acquisitions that align with their needs.
  3. The King January 20, 2014 at 1:09 pm
    Instant karma’s gonna get you! Oh, wait, never mind.
  4. Rob January 20, 2014 at 1:41 pm
    Joe: Thanks for the post. I agree with your comments on Lannan. I’ve always liked him and watching him come up with the Nationals, he always impressed me with his effort.

    On a separate note, when and where did you play during college. I’m a LeMoyne grad (but not a baseball player) from way back and was wondering if you remembered playing them during your college career.

    Thanks and keep up the great work.


  5. argonbunnies January 20, 2014 at 9:55 pm
    Health problems + not dominant even when healthy = extreme longshot. 4.7 K rate is one of the worst in baseball, and he doesn’t have the tiny walk rate you’d like to see with it (his is 3.4). I never wanted the Mets to get this guy.

    Since they have him, now I’m looking for positives. Lannan has only allowed 21 HRs in his last 290 innings and throws left-handed, so I suppose there might be situations where he isn’t the worst option.

  6. CleonJames January 21, 2014 at 12:22 pm
    He’s perfectly mediocre which means he’s perfect for the Met-iocres.