Mariners extend Wade LeBlanc for FOUR MORE YEARS?!
Now this, ladies and germs, is a textbook example of striking while the iron's hot.

Wow, that was unexpected.  MLBTR has the scoop, and the story is up on mlb.com/mariners as well, so it's official: Wade LeBlanc just signed a no-risk (for either himself or the team) four year extension with the club which in may respects mirrors low-risk/high-reward NFL contracts.  I don't know what Doc's take is on all this, but I'll give you a quick breakdown of the details (as I understand them) and my opinion while we wait for sempai's input.

The deal sounds like it's a little under $3mil guaranteed, with club options for 2020-2022 which, if exercised, would pay the man $5mil per year those three years.  There are also escalators and incentives built into each option year which, reportedly, could push it to a total payout of $32mil over the next four years.

Seriously, this might be my favorite Mariners contract of all time.  In fact, no, I'm going to say it: this IS my favorite Mariners contract of all time.

As a 33 year old journeyman, and with one more year of arbitration to clear before FA, there was no way LeBlanc could guarantee himself more security than he just did.  If he pitches like he has been (even if luck starts to turn against him, as most expect it will), he's worth every penny of the $32mil for the next four years as a versatile swingman/BOR starter.  And if he somehow finds more of whatever pixie dust he's been using since joining the M's this year, he's a solid MOR arm on a bargain contract.

The only *risk* here is that LeBlanc is indeed a MOR arm and that he's leaving some money on the table, but seriously?  I don't see how he could be leaving too much out there.  The only way he could justify more than $10mil/year is if he goes out and literally pitches like Prime Jamie Moyer for the rest of this season and all of next.  No injuries can strike him in the next season and a half, and he has to continue doing what he's done for the first half of the season (which has been an unprecedented run for him).  And EVEN THEN, I doubt that he'd be sniffing $15mil for multiple years.  The pitching market, as Arrieta and Darvish discovered, just isn't what it used to be, and a guy like LeBlanc has all kinds of warning flags hanging around his neck.

So he signed a deal that pays him, in guarantees, about what he would have gotten in arbitration next year.  And then he agreed to an incredibly dynamic series of options which the M's would be fools not to exercise even if all he turns out to be is a versatile swingman.  $5mil for a rock solid #5 who can easily fit into the long relief role if we accumulate too much SP talent?  Are you kidding me?  And if he is one of the guys doing the pushing from his slot in the rotation, we're THRILLED to pay him $10mil/year for his services.

Love this deal.  Love, love, love it.  I don't expect him to keep pitching like he has, but if he does then everyone walks away smiling.  And if he doesn't, at least he knows he'll have a job--and he'll earn annual king's ransoms--so long as his arm doesn't fall off.

Comments

1

I really like the LeBlanc signing. DiPoto thinks LeBlanc can sustain this level of success for quite a while. He called the extensions the 'Jamie Moyer contingincy plan.'

2

That's pretty special as far as votes of confidence go.  Comparing his upside to that of one of the Mariners' greatest pitchers EVER :-)

3

He’s the real deal. I just don’t see him with a little notebook in the dugout. But other than that. I can’t see the difference from the Moyer I watched. I’m sure there are nuances That escape my casual observation skills.

5

We win, LeBlanc wins, everybody wins.

I hope this turns out the best possible... we pick up a couple of options, he's firmly Jamie Moyer, and we extend him for richer contract with more well-earned guaranteed money. Failing that, though, we've already all gained here... it's always nice to see a happy ending come outside of the fairy tale books once in a while.

6

He seems like the nicest guy, and this will probably be his first million dollar contact.  There was no guarantee his arbitration was going to be picked up (I think I it was rejected last season by the Pirates).  Just having a somewhat guaranteed spot on the team for the next 3 seasons is a huge step in his career.

7
Sickfnhayes's picture

Just to watch the facial expressions of the AL west hitters as he drops that “fastball” right down the heart of the plate that they stare at for strike 3. 

I hate comparisons but Moyer did that same hilarious thing all the time. 

Happy 4th and Go M’s!

8

Facial expressions indeed.  Esp. on the fastball strike 3 called.  :- )

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