Since the Mariners starting rotation started falling one by one to injuries, Seattle has had to turn to some unfamiliar names to get the job done.
On June 22nd, the same day that the Mariners signed former closer Tom Wilhelmsen, they also traded for cash or a PTBNL for Toronto’s AAA pitcher Wade Leblanc to replace the injured pitchers Wade Miley and Adrian Sampson.
Since then he has been more than serviceable, accruing a 1.5 ERA in his first two starts and winning both of them. With Wade Miley now back from injury we may see him in a bullpen role or sent down to AAA until another inevitable starting pitcher injury for the Mariners but one thing is certain: you can never have too much good starting pitching.
Here’s the rundown on Seattle’s backup Wade.
Leblanc was drafted in 2006 in the second round by the San Diego Padres. Despite reasonable success in the minor leagues, he struggled in the majors and by 2011 was traded to the Marlins for John Baker and he immediately found himself back in AAA.
Over the next couple years he served as a decent reliever putting in a 3.67 ERA before he was DFAd and claimed off waivers by the Astros. For the next four years he bounced up and down from AAA and the majors for multiple major league teams as a middle of the road reliever.
On December 12 2014 he took his talents to Japan to play for the Seitama Seibu Lions of the NPB. After pitching one year there as a starter he returned to the US to play for the Blue Jays on a minor league contract before hie eventual move to the pacific northwest.
So his career so far does’t include a ton of fanfare and we can pretty much look to every pessimistic analyst’s favorite phrase to tell you what’s going on: small sample size. But, even if that is the best we’ll see of him all year, he gave the team two wins and is one pitcher between where we’re at now and total panic from having literally no more starting options for the major league team. When Felix Hernandez returns after the All Star Break, expect Wade Leblanc to find himself back in the minors but for now be glad that he gave us something to work with in his first time in a Mariners uniform.
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