Mariners decline LHP Wade LeBlanc’s 2020 contract option
The second Mariners tour of duty for veteran left-hander Wade LeBlanc has come to an end.
The 35-year-old LeBlanc’s contract option for the 2020 season has been declined by the Mariners, as was expected for a rebuilding Seattle team that will put an emphasis on letting younger players play next year.
LeBlanc signed a contract extension during the 2018 season that guaranteed to keep him on the books through 2019 and included club options for 2020, 2021 and 2022. According to Spotrac.com, LeBlanc earned $2 million in 2019 with a $300,000 signing bonus and $500,000 incentive. He would have earned $5 million in 2020 had the Mariners picked up his option, and his option would have vested had he thrown 160 innings and had what was considered a “healthy arm” at the end of 2019, per Spotrac.
LeBlanc pitched 121 1/3 innings in 2019 and had a stint on the injured list after suffering a strained right oblique in April.
The crafty southpaw enjoyed the best season of his career in 2018 after returning to Seattle following an attempt to make the Yankees in spring training. He appeared in 32 games with 27 starts that season, going 9-5 with a 3.72 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 130 strikeouts, 40 walks and a 2.3 WAR. The highlight of that year was a June 16 outing at home against Boston on national television where he threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings with two hits, nine strikeouts and no walks to get the win in a 1-0 Mariners victory.
The 2019 season was a different story for LeBlanc, however. He hit the IL in April after just three starts, and while he had seven quality starts, his ERA sat over 5 for the majority of the season. He eventually lost his spot in the starting rotation and finished the year in the bullpen.
LeBlanc first played with the Mariners in 2016.
The Louisiana native now joins fellow pitchers Félix Hernández, Tommy Milone and Arodys Vizcaíno as Mariners free agents. First baseman Ryon Healy and outfielder Keon Broxton are also available to sign elsewhere after declining outright assignments to Triple-A, which leaves Seattle’s 40-man roster at 34 players.