Jose Valverde signs with Mets; LI's Lannan ready to compete
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The Mets have been seeking an experienced reliever for their bullpen, and Wednesdaythey found one.
Jose Valverde signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, where he and fellow veteran Kyle Farnsworth will serve as insurance for a Mets bullpen that will be stocked with young arms.
Valverde, known for his antics on the mound, had a turbulent stint with the Tigers, where he nailed down all 49 of his save chances in 2011 before enduring a postseason meltdown in 2012.
Last season, Valverde signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers but posted a 5.59 ERA during his 20-game big league stint. He was eventually released from Triple-A Toledo.
Valverde, 35, is a three-time All-Star with 286 lifetime saves with the Diamondbacks, Astros and Tigers. The Mets expect Bobby Parnell to handle closing duties, though he is still working his way back from offseason neck surgery.
John Lannan arrived Wednesday for voluntary workouts. The veteran lefty hopes to emerge as the team's fifth starter, though the Long Island native faces plenty of competition from fellow veteran Daisuke Matsuzaka and prospects Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero and Jenrry Mejia.
Lannan, 29, went 3-6 for the Phillies with a 5.33 ERA before undergoing season-ending surgery last August to repair a tendon in his left quad. He was cleared for baseball activity in early January.
"It feels really good right now, exactly where I need to be," Lannan said. "I'm [throwing] off the mound, I'm ready to compete."
Though Lannan grew up in Long Beach as a Yankees fan, he has fond memories of watching games at the Mets' longtime home, Shea Stadium.
"I liked pitching there," he said. "I liked going to games there. All my baseball memories make me the ballplayer I am today and Shea had a lot to do with that."