Pittsburgh Pirates Arbitration Breakdown: Wade LeBlanc
In the coming weeks here at Rum Bunter we will be taking a look at each arbitration eligible player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We continue today with Wade LeBlanc.
As Major League Baseball’s offseason begins, so does the decision making inside each of the 30 front offices. A big part of this decision making revolves around players that are arbitration eligible. Due to that, here at Rum Bunter we will take a look at each arbitration eligible Pirate in the coming days.
Today we will take a look at a player that did not join the Pirates until September. This player is left-handed relief pitcher Wade LeBlanc.
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Wade LeBlanc from the Seattle Mariners on September 13th. LeBlanc was acquired in exchange for cash considerations after the Mariners designated him for assignment. Somewhat surprisingly, Wade LeBlanc pitch very effectively for the Pirates.
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During the month of September LeBlanc pitched 12 innings for the Pirates. In these 12 innings pitched he allowed just seven hits, zero home runs, he walked just two batters, and he struck out ten batters. Wade LeBlanc would finish with a 0.75 ERA, 1.98 FIP, and a 3.65 xFIP in the month of September.
The 2016 season was the first one in which Wade LeBlanc pitched in the Majors since 2014. This came after he signed a Minor League contract with the Seattle Mariners last offseason. And this makes LeBlanc arbitration eligible this offseason.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, LeBlanc is projected to earn 1.6 million dollars in arbitration this offseason. However, it is far from a guarantee that the Pirates will tender LeBlanc a contract. So the question becomes, should the Pirates tender Wade LeBlanc a contract this offseason?
In my opinion, the Pirates should tender a contract to LeBlanc this offseason. The Pirate bullpen is already shaping up to be a strong one with a core of Tony Watson, Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio, Antonio Bastardo, and A.J. Schugel. And Wade LeBlanc can be part of this as well.
First of all, LeBlanc can give the Pirates length out of the bullpen and pitch multiple innings. And right now that is something the 2017 Pirates’ bullpen does not have. Additionally, he is a left-handed pitcher. Yes, the Pirates already have three left-handed pitchers in their bullpen but hear me out here.
Tony Watson and Felipe Rivero are the Pirates’ back-end shut down arms. Due to this, you will never see them used before the eighth inning. This leaves just Antonio Bastardo as an option to get out a lefty in a jam earlier in the game. However, by retaining LeBlanc the Pirates would then have two left-handed relievers capable of doing this.
Next: Should There Be Coaching Staff Changes?
Wade LeBlanc can bring good value to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017. Furthermore, it can be done a very cheap price. Due to these reasons I believe the Pirates should tender LeBlanc a contract this offseason. However, I will not be the least bit surprised if they do not.
Previous arbitration breakdowns: