Mariners Bring Back LeBlanc on Major League Deal

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 19: Wade LeBlanc
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 19: Wade LeBlanc /

Jerry Dipoto and the Seattle Mariners wasted no time finding a replacement for David Phelps. This morning, the team inked veteran lefty, and former Mariner, Wade LeBlanc to a Major League deal.

LeBlanc will obviously make the Mariners Opening Day roster. His fit does make sense, at least on paper. LeBlanc spent most of his career as a starter, and should provide depth for the rotation, as well as a multi-inning reliever out of the pen.

In 2017, LeBlanc spent the entire season in the Pirates bullpen. He appeared in 50 games, posting a 4.50 ERA in 68 innings. LeBlanc will not miss a ton of bats, posting a pedestrian 7.1 K/9 last season. However, he has plus control, posting just 2.1 BB/9.

LeBlanc peripherals indicate he pitched slightly better than is overall numbers. He posted a 4.28 FIP with a solid 1.19 WHIP.

Although a left-handed pitcher, LeBlanc actually fared much better against right-handed hitters in 2017. Righties hit just .217/.270/.389 against him in 2017. Meanwhile, lefties touched him up to a tune of a .295/.333/.500 slash line.

While LeBlanc does provide some depth and length to the bullpen, he is not a high-leverage reliever. Seattle may still be in the market for that type of reliever. However, LeBlanc will certainly take the pressure off the bullpen and rotation, thanks to his ability to cover a few different roles.

The addition of LeBlanc to the roster could eliminate the spot from 1 other player currently penciled into the Opening Day Roster. Dipoto and Scott Servais have already stated that the plan is to enter 2018 with 4 starters and 8 relievers. In theory, this gives the Mariners an Opening Day bullpen of: Nick Vincent, Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio, James Pazos, Marc Rzepczynski, Dan Altavilla, Casey Lawrence and LeBlanc.

One small not to keep an eye on going forward; the Mariners now have 3 lefty relievers on the roster. While not likely, I wouldn’t completely rule out a trade of Rzepczynski in the coming days.

Jon Heyman has reported the Mariners are sniffing around for Starting pitching. With the solid bullpen depth, and the addition of 2 left-handed relievers in recent days, it’s easy to connect the dots.

Next: 5 Ways the Mariners Could Make Playoffs in 2018

As it stands now, LeBlanc is a solid addition to the Mariners 25 man roster. He is unlikely to finish the season with Seattle, but for now, he can help this ball club early.