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After leaving the Nats to join the Phillies last season, lefty John Lannan is now headed to another NL East rival.
Lannan agreed to a minor league deal with the New York Mets on Saturday with an invitation to spring training. The Long Island native will take a shot at making the Mets roster, and his chances might be decent.
The Mets will have Zack Wheeler back for his second season, Jon Niese will be there, plus Bartolo Colon who they signed as a free agent. They'll also have Dillon Gee who had the best year of his career in 2013. But beyond those four, there could be an opening in their rotation.
According to MLBdepthcharts.com, Jenrry Mejia is their expected fifth starter at the moment. He's a 23-year-old with potential - he held a 2.87 ERA in seven minor league seasons - but Lannan is a proven commodity when healthy. Mejia is also expected to be on an innings limit as a veteran of Tommy John surgery.
Lannan pitched six years in Washington before moving on to the Phillies. He encountered injury problems in Philly for the first time in his career and posted an ugly 5.33 ERA in 14 starts along the way.
Before joining the Phillies, Lannan was a solid MLB starter. He went 10-13 with a 3.70 ERA in 184 2/3 innings for the Nats in 2011 and started Opening Day in both 2009 and 2010.
The Mets are buying low with a minor league deal and Lannan, 29, has a lot of work to do to regain his status in the majors. But as long as he's healthy, he could be a solid addition to the Mets' staff.