The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced they have acquired left-handed pitcher Wade LeBlanc from the Seattle Mariners for cash considerations or a player to be named later.
On the 2016 season, the 32-year-old left hander has pitched in 11 games, with eight of them coming as a starter. Wade LeBlanc has also saved one game, and finished off the three games in which he did not start. He has posted a 4.50 ERA and a 5.68 FIP. The good news for him, however, is that LeBlanc features an 88.1 mile per hour average exit velocity against, according to baseball savant. That 88.1 mile per hour exit velocity ranked 11th lowest among the 32 pitchers that the Mariners have used.
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Wade did not pitch in the Major League’s in 2015, but he did however pitch in the Japan Pacific League, where he did post a 4.23 ERA. In his eight year career, LeBlanc has a 4.48 ERA and a 4.73 FIP. His home run rate of 1.3 per nine and a 3.0 walks per nine are contributors to his career struggles. Even in his career against left-handed hitters he has struggled, as lefties are hitting to a tune of .309/.359/.530 off of him.
Why the LeBlanc trade makes some sense.
The acquisition seems like an odd one, especially with the Pirates out of any sort of race, but that is what makes the decision a potentially smart one. Gerrit Cole is having an injury riddled season, and has been shut down for the rest of the year. Jameson Taillon is coming from two injured seasons and limiting him would be wise. Chad Kuhl did not look right in his last start, and limiting him would also be a smart and proactive idea. The Pirates have already shipped out Kelvin Marte, so adding another arm to the mix does not hurt. If LeBlanc’s addition means resting the young arms and having them be healthy heading into 2017, I’m all for this seemingly random trade.
*Numbers from baseball-reference