SEATTLE -- Wade LeBlanc's excellent season with the Mariners was rewarded on Tuesday as the 33-year-old southpaw was given a contract extension through 2019, with annual club options through 2022.MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported the deal is for $2 million for 2019, plus a $300,000 signing bonus, and the
SEATTLE -- Wade LeBlanc's excellent season with the Mariners was rewarded on Tuesday as the 33-year-old southpaw was given a contract extension through 2019, with annual club options through 2022.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported the deal is for $2 million for 2019, plus a $300,000 signing bonus, and the club options will be for $5 million for each of the 2020, '21 and '22 seasons, with $450,000 buyouts each season.
The Mariners signed LeBlanc to a one-year, $650,000 contract when he was released by the Yankees just days before the start of the regular season and general manager Jerry Dipoto said LeBlanc earned the extension with his outstanding performance in the first half.
The 10-year Major League veteran is 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 16 games, including 11 starts, heading into a Tuesday night start against the Angels at Safeco Field. He's gone 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his 11 starts.
Dipoto believes LeBlanc is getting better with age and said the three club option years at the end of the deal were "jokingly referenced as the Jamie Moyer contingency plan" in his talks with LeBlanc's agent, Joe Rosen.
LeBlanc has drawn comparisons to Moyer for his mid-80s fastball, quality changeup and pinpoint command, which is one of the reasons the Mariners were compelled to get him under contract for next season.
"Wade can do what he's doing now -- I don't want to say in perpetuity, because eventually everybody times out -- but I don't think his fastball is going to get harder, I also don't think it's going to get substantially slower," Dipoto said. "His cutter is a really fine and well-located precision pitch. His changeup has always been a good feel pitch for him.
"He knows when to spot his curveball and how to do it. Who he is as a pitcher now is very sustainable for a guy in his age range. There's no reason to think what he's doing now is not sustainable. He's telling us it is, so we want to give him a chance to show us that."
LeBlanc is in his second stint with the Mariners, having gone 3-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 11 appearances (eight starts) in 2016. When the Yankees released him at his request late in Spring Training, he re-signed with Seattle on March 25 and then moved into the rotation when Erasmo Ramirez went on the disabled list about a month into the season.
"Since the day he entered the rotation, really since he's been with the Mariners, both times, he's been so reliable," Dipoto said. "He's very durable and gives us a chance to win almost every game he pitches because he throws strikes. You don't even really wonder about him anymore. … I think Wade deserves the opportunity to run with it."
With LeBlanc's signing, the Mariners now have all five of their current starters -- James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Marco Gonzales, Mike Leake and LeBlanc -- under team control for next season.
But Dipoto said that doesn't preclude Seattle from pursuing opportunities to acquire more pitching as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, particularly given the heavy workload being incurred by the starters to date.
"I think if there is an opportunity for us to expand or augment our pitching group, wherever that is, then we're going to be attentive to that," he said. "If there is the ability to go out and find a guy who we feel like either takes some of the inning stress off our starters in the second half or can give us that late punch at the back end of our bullpen, then we'll go that route. And if that opportunity doesn't present itself, we probably won't chase it."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011.