Blue Jays Add To Minor League Depth With Addition of Wade LeBlanc
Blue Jays fans wanted action from the front office, and they got it early Thursday morning. It’s just not the kind of bullpen help they were expecting.
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The Blue Jays announced that they have signed Wade LeBlanc to a minor league deal. The contract was first announced by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, and includes an invite to spring training. Fans scratching their heads trying to figure out what team LeBlanc was with last year will have to look outside of the country. LeBlanc pitched for the Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League, starting eight games and posting a 2-5 record and a 4.23 ERA during his two month stint in Saitama.
LeBlanc’s most productive years came with the San Diego Padres, the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Alabama. His most successful year came in 2010, when he made 26 starts for San Diego, putting together an 8-12 campaign and a 4.25 ERA. Following 2011 he began a MLB vagabond journey, spending time with the Marlins, Astros and Yankees. His last major league action came in 2014 with the Angels, where he was a serviceable long arm out of the pen. He made three starts in nine appearances, finishing with a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings before crossing the Pacific Ocean.
This is a depth move for the Blue Jays. LeBlanc is not expected to break camp with the club, and will likely slot in behind Scott Diamond in Buffalo. The most comparable arm to him is the one who just announced his retirement this week.
A veteran lefty who can come up and eat some innings if need be. His fastball-changeup combo is reminiscent of a Dollar Store Marco Estrada, but again, LeBlanc’s role is to provide depth in the organization.
If he is still with the club, it will be in the Bo Schultz role as the fitfh-sixth arm in the pen, or following a potential trade, as the long arm. It’s a nice utility piece for the Blue Jays to have at the ready, and if he can repeat the stats he posted with the Angels, he could be exactly the type of low-cost arm that helps the Blue Jays stretch their bullpen. For now, Blue Jays fans will have to be content with cracking Matt LeBlanc jokes while getting their “How You Doin’?” signs ready.