In need of a potential left-handed reliever and additional depth for their starting rotation, the New York Yankees have claimed Wade LeBlanc off of waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. LeBlanc has primarily been a starter for most of his career, but his lone appearances for Los Angeles this season came out of the bullpen.
The 29 year old had joined the Angels on a minor league deal in November and had spent most of the 2014 season at Triple-A before joining the big league club at the end of May. His lone appearance for the Angels came on May 30th, as he came in to throw 6.1 IP in relief of Garrett Richards who’d gotten hit hard by the Oakland Athletics in less than an inning of work. LeBlanc allowed four runs on six hits, including two home runs (both to Josh Donaldson), in the outing while striking out four and walking two.
Prior to being called up by Los Angeles he had made nine starts at Triple-A, posting a 5-1 record with a 3.69 ERA and 1.286 WHIP.
LeBlanc has had an up and down career to date. He was a 2nd Round pick by the San Diego Padres in the 2006 Draft and would make his way into the team’s rotation by the 2008 season. Over parts of four season he’d make 52 starts for San Diego, going 17-22 with a 4.54 ERA and 1.425 WHIP, before the team would trade him to the Miami Marlins following the 2011 season to catcher John Baker. He’d spent the next season and a half with Miami, splitting his time between the rotation and the bullpen, before being claimed off of waivers by the Houston Astros.
In 97 career appearances (68 starts) he’s thrown 423.1 IP with a 4.53 ERA, 1.436 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9.
Los Angeles had reportedly been hoping to pass him through waivers in order to keep him stretched out as rotation depth, but the Yankees pounced looking to supplement their own roster. New York’s lone left-handed reliever for much of the season has been Matt Thornton, as Vidal Nuno has been forced into the starting rotation and the organization has few alternative options. LeBlanc should likely take on a swingman role initially for the Yankees, potentially pushing the inconsistent Alfredo Aceves off the active roster. If he’s able to put together some solid outings and maintain his ability to pitch multiple innings, he could prove to be some added insurance for a Yankees rotation that has been hit hard with injuries early on this season.