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New York Mets' Lack of Interest in John Lannan Is Simply Inexcusable

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 02: Starting pitcher John Lannan #31 of the Washington Nationals throws to an Atlanta Braves batter during the second inning at Nationals Park on August 2, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Lou CappettaAnalyst IIApril 7, 2012

When a quality starting pitcher who is due to make a relatively reasonable $5 million for one year, is only 27 years old, and is still two seasons away from being eligible for free agency becomes available, it makes sense for teams around Major League Baseball to at least make inquiries.

It especially makes sense for small-market teams to make the inquiry, as pitchers under 30 years of age, even under-performing ones, usually command a premium.

With that said, it's a bit strange that no teams other than the Chicago Cubs have openly expressed interest in pitcher John Lannan, who requested a trade from the Washington Nationals after being optioned to the minor leagues at the end of spring training.

It makes even less sense that the New York Mets have yet to express interest in the Washington lefty, as he seems to be a perfect fit for both the Mets plans on the field and financially.

Lannan is no ace, not by a long shot, but he is a solid starting pitcher who has started at least 30 games and thrown 180 innings in three of the last four years. He's also young, left-handed, durable, relatively inexpensive and under the team's control until 2014, and in this new era of "Mets Moneyball," that's pretty much everything the team is looking for.

What makes the Mets perceived lack of interest in Lannan all the more baffling, is that every starting pitcher currently on the team is a question mark.

Mike Pelfrey has been a disaster for more than a year now, so much so that the cash-strapped team had discussed eating his almost $6 million salary and releasing him during spring training. Dillon Gee and Jon Niese both look like promising young pitchers, but so did Pelfrey at one time, so who knows if they'll continue to improve or take a step back in 2012.

Johan Santana, the Mets' ace and most reliable pitcher when healthy, had a nice start to the season on Opening Day, but he's pitching for the first time since 2010, and hasn't made 30 starts in a season since 2008.

R.A. Dickey is really the Mets' most reliable starting pitcher, and he's average at best. When his knuckleball is on, he's very tough to hit, but when it's not, he's basically throwing batting practice.

The Mets have made it clear that they will be operating like a small-market team for the foreseeable future, so the days of signing big-name free agents, or making trades for star players with huge salaries are over.

If that's the way the Mets need to do business to stay afloat, that's fine, but it also means that management needs to be vigilant in it's quest to find young, inexpensive talent, or the old proverbial "diamond in the rough." Lannan is definitely the former, and could possibly be the latter as well.

There have been no reports as to what Washington may be looking to get in return for Lannan, but for the Mets to not even show interest is inexcusable. It's moves like these, or lack there of, that makes Mets management look like they are asleep at the wheel at best, and simply giving up on the season with their only focus being on the team's finances at worst. 

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