PEORIA, Ariz. -- Wade LeBlanc, who gave the Mariners a boost as a fill-in starter two years ago, could get the chance to do the same thing this year in a relief role. The team announced on Sunday that they've signed him to a Major League contract.The 33-year-old lefty was
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Wade LeBlanc, who gave the Mariners a boost as a fill-in starter two years ago, could get the chance to do the same thing this year in a relief role. The team announced on Sunday that they've signed him to a Major League contract.
The 33-year-old lefty was granted his release at his request on Friday by the Yankees in order to pursue other opportunities.
"Wade is a veteran with a track record of success, including in Seattle, particularly over the past two seasons," general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. "His skill set is unique in that he gives us depth as both a reliever and as a starting pitcher."
LeBlanc went 5-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 50 games with the Pirates last season. He was 3-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 11 games (eight starts) with Seattle in 2016 after general manager Jerry Dipoto acquired him from Toronto in midseason.
This spring, the Louisiana native posted a 5.27 ERA with 10 strikeouts and one walk in 13 2/3 innings over seven relief appearances for the Yankees.
The Mariners have two openings on their 40-man roster at this point and will have another as soon as they officially put reliever David Phelps on the 60-day disabled list. Phelps is scheduled for Tommy John surgery on Monday.
LeBlanc provides the Mariners another relief option after losing Phelps and Tony Zych to injuries, with Nick Rumbelow also sidelined indefinitely by a nerve issue in his neck. While LeBlanc is a left-hander, he has a history of being tougher on right-handed hitters. Last year his line against right-handers was .217/.270/.389 compared to .295/.333/.500 vs. left-handers.
Non-roster invitee Casey Lawrence has pitched well for the Mariners this spring as a long-relief candidate, but LeBlanc could also fill that role or be used as a swingman if needed. He's started 79 Major League games over the course of a nine-year career with the Padres, Marlins, Astros, Angels, Yankees, Mariners and Pirates and has a 30-35 record with a 4.40 ERA in 176 overall appearances.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.