Marlins, Padres Swap John Baker For Wade LeBlanc

The Marlins have traded catcher John Baker to the Padres for left-hander Wade LeBlanc, according to a press release from the Padres.

Baker, 31 in January, was mentioned as a non-tender candidate by Tim Dierkes last week. Our projections have the backstop earning $800K as a first time arbitration-eligible player in 2012. Baker had just two singles and two walks in 16 plate appearances this past season after recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the lefty swinger hit .273/.358/.406 with 14 homers in 744 plate appearances from 2008-2010. He's thrown out just 34 of 175 attempted base stealers as a big leaguer (19.4%).

The 27-year-old LeBlanc has made 52 starts (and two relief appearances) for the Padres over the last four seasons, pitching to a 4.54 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. He's an extreme fly ball pitcher, getting a ground ball just 34.7% of the time in his career. That works well in Petco Park, but it remains to be seen how the Marlins' new stadium will play. He owns a 4.64 ERA in 376 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level.

Nick Hundley has battled injuries over the last three seasons, so Baker gives San Diego some depth behind the plate as well as a potential platoon partner. The Marlins were looking to add a lefty pitcher to their staff, reportedly inquiring on Gio Gonzalez, but LeBlanc also fits the bill. MLB.com's Corey Brock confirms that LeBlanc has minor league options remaining (Twitter link).


120 Responses to Marlins, Padres Swap John Baker For Wade LeBlanc Leave a Reply

  1. Fifty_Five 4 years ago

    I don’t like this for the Pads

    • UncleCharles 4 years ago

      And Baker has had some decent seasons offensively in years past (tho not recently) dunno how his D is tho. And LeBlanc can be better than what he was last couple years but his WHIP was pretty fricking horrible this past year. Maybe a move from petco helps him. Good trade for both I think.

      • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

        “Maybe a move from petco helps him.”

        That’s not possible.

        • UncleCharles 4 years ago

          Their is always hope isn’t there?

          • Fred_G_Sanford 4 years ago

            you got that right!  worked for obama so it must be true.

          • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

            Please don’t bring politics onto here..

        • redmountain 4 years ago

          Not likely.  Aaron Harang moved from Cincy, where he got hammered to Petco and had a pretty decent season.  Cannot see how going to Florida will help

      • GasLampGuru 4 years ago

        Have you seen LeBlanc pitch?  He’s probably never going to be any better than he has been because his stuff is fringe at best and he simply can’t put the ball over the plate without getting hammered.  His only hope is to nibble with the changeup and hope hitters get themselves out.

        • LeBlanc has a plus plus changeup. He throws four pitches. His problem is that he sits 86-87 with his 4 seamer and if he doesn’t have pinpoint control of his fastball he gets pounded. When he does have great control of the fastball he is great. Unfortunately for him that only happened about once every 4 games.

          Unlike most pitchers his velocity has been increasing and he posted a 4.30 ERA in just about the worst pitchers park/launching pad in baseball in Tucson.

          The reason Leblanc was traded was that he was out of options and with a upside potential of only a back of the rotation starter he would not stick with the Padres all year. They at least got something for him.

          On the other hand Baker is not worth anywhere near the $800k++ he will be looking at in arbitration. He is one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball and he has not shown he can hit above league average since a 197 AB stint during his rookie season in 2008 at age 27.

          If he called a GREAT game it would be one thing to have him as a backup, but with guys on the mound that averaged an ERA of around 3.43 when he wasnt behind the plate and a league average ERA of 4.16, he averaged a 4.29.

          Unfortunately for the Padres, I dont believe that Baker has options either. Unless they non tender him and sign to a smaller contract, they are stuck with him.

      • Ohhhplease 4 years ago

        A move from PETCO park for any pitcher is never good, kind of like saying, “Maybe a move from oxygen will make him breathe better…..”

      • johnsilver 4 years ago

        Baker is a really nice hitter with a sweet swing. Knows how to go the other way really well and does NOT try to pull everything at all, but like the topic states.. Has one horrible arm and pretty slow reaction times behind the plate, or stiff IMO.

        Really hated to see him moved as liked him a bunch. A good cheerleader type, much like Cody Ross was when he was with the Fish and better than Hayes to me.

    •  Yeah, LeBlanc has a higher career batting average than Baker!  LOL

    • marlinsfan210 4 years ago

      the pads got a really good catcher. Hundleys injuries have plagued him

    • johnnycomelately9 4 years ago

      Read his quote in yesterday union tribune. Fantastic move for the pads. He knows and understands his role. He’s going to work great with Nick and the pitchers. I love his attitude and high bop. Plus another leftie bat for the bench. The pads got him and Kotsay to answer that need.

  2. mmwatkin 4 years ago

    The Marlins FINALLY make their big move of the offseason

  3. This is the Big Move we all been waiting for!

  4. Donald Munson 4 years ago

    If he is healthy he couldn’t possibly be worse than Rob Johnson.

  5. azdsnd 4 years ago

    A left-handed starter with a 4.27 ERA in 272 IP over the last three years gets moved for a catcher who has played in a combined total of 39 games in the big-leagues over the last two seasons.

    LOLPetco

    • he hasn’t play many games in the minors either. TJ surgery.
      Baker is a good backup catcher and can be an asset off the bench 
      (good lefty contact bat)

      • azdsnd 4 years ago

        Umm, yeah, exactly.  A couple years of control of a starter with a low-4’s ERA over the last two years in Petco gets you a backup catcher recovering from major elbow surgery who couldn’t throw anybody out in the first place.  Who knows if he’ll hit, too, it’s not like you don’t need your elbow to swing the stick.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          that career ERA looks worse when you adjust for league and park: 127 ERA-. career FIP- of 132, 4.62 SIERA, 5.01 tERA

          baker’s no prize, but neither is leblanc

          • azdsnd 4 years ago

            That was my original point – “LOLPetco”.  Just making a snarky comment on just how hilarious of a place Petco is for pitchers.  :)

  6. iheartyourfart 4 years ago

    ok.

  7. Chipper_is_GOD 4 years ago

    Marlins are hustling this offseason….

  8. Dodgersarelife 4 years ago

    Wow, even though wade Leblanc Isn’t a class A starter, what were the pads thinking! John Baker. Really?

  9. Dodgersarelife 4 years ago

    Wow, even though wade Leblanc Isn’t a class A starter, what were the pads thinking! John Baker. Really?

  10. Dodgersarelife 4 years ago

    Wow, even though wade Leblanc Isn’t a class A starter, what were the pads thinking! John Baker. Really?

  11. So, THIS is the big move we’ve been waiting for… (sigh)

  12. leachim2 4 years ago

    terrible. The only thing it does is open a rotation spot.

    • Chris Coyle 4 years ago

      FA pitching market isn’t that bad — and the Pads have had luck with FA pitchers looking to revamp their careers in the past few years (Garland, Correia, Harang, etc).

  13. greengrove 4 years ago

    Wade LeBlanc was a decent 6th or 7th starter to have. John Baker is just another backup that signifies more mediocracy from the Padres catching position. Nick Hundley and John Baker, teams far and wide must be trembling. 

    • leachim2 4 years ago

      Nick Hundley is an good starting major league catcher.

      • and John Baker is a GREAT backup. solid lefty off the bench
        he did have TJ surgery and hasn’t really played since.

        • leachim2 4 years ago

          He seems like a good hitter, but not a very good defender. They should probably keep another catcher for defense.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          shouldn’t effect him too much. his best attribute is his discipline and he’s never relied on power. i don’t think this is as bad for the padres as many think. leblanc doesn’t have a lot of trade value

        • Giorgi Almonte 4 years ago

          hes playing winter league in the Dominican…

  14. cjmsd 4 years ago

    At least LeBlanc was serviceable in a pinch. Baker is 30 years old and hasn’t done anything… 

  15. The_BiRDS 4 years ago

    Woa, woa, woa.. Are you sure this actually happened or are they still “seriously talking about it?”

  16. leachim2 4 years ago

    I was really hoping they would use Luis Martinez as the backup.

  17. FS54 4 years ago

    I know ERA is not much of an indicator but when a pitcher has double the ERA on road than home, you gotta worry. 6.16 vs 2.97!

    They probably mistook him for Gio.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      FIP over 5.50 to go with it (just over 4 at home)

  18. TartanElk 4 years ago

    That seems like really selling low on LeBlanc or Baker. I don’t really know.

  19. Padres, why must you keep making moves that don’t make sense? i guess Josh wants an old team, first Kotsay now this guy. Might as well see if Tony Gwynn wants to make a comeback

  20. Blunts

  21. dvmin98 4 years ago

    Just because we traded for this guy, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s our back up catcher.  Luis Martinez could still win the job. 

    Plus, LeBlanc is out of options, so he couldn’t be shuttled back and forth from Tucson like he has been without being waived. I liked Wade, but he’s not a solid major league starter. His location has to be perfect in order to be effective because his fastball never tops the high 80’s

  22. nats2012 4 years ago

    Somehow I think Wade LeBlanc doesnt serve the same purpose as Gio Gonzalez.

  23. how has this trade caused 37 comments?

  24. formerdraftpick 4 years ago

    Nice move by the Marlins.  I wonder if they are going to convert him to a middle reliever or make him a number 4 or 5 starter.  

  25. eyedessert 4 years ago

    All this really means is that we’ll eventually be dealing Volstad.

  26. UrkillingmeSmalls 4 years ago

    Man people must be itching to talk baseball during this glacially paced offseason for this trade to have 46 comments already.

  27. mgsports 4 years ago

    Now the Marlins need a Catcher intill Skipworth is ready because Hayes is just a Backup.

  28. MetsMagic 4 years ago

    Ugh…with the NBA strike and me being an Islander fan this is the most exciting sports I can get. Sad. 

    • miamiroc 4 years ago

      lol. ha. i know how u feel. The Heat aren’t playing anytime soon and I’m a Dolphins fan. Its depressing.

    • TheHotCorner 4 years ago

      NBA?  Was anyone even still watching that?  College basketball is way better.

  29. NYBravosFan10 4 years ago

    They let Wade LeBlanc get in the way of signing Pujols, Reyes, Buehrle, Wilson, Madson, Francisco, Oswalt and trading for Gio and Shields?

  30. plain_g 4 years ago

    MARLINS GOING ALL IN, JEFFREY LORIA TOLD YOU, SON!

  31. padresfuture 4 years ago

    What this move tells me is that the Padres believe Hundley is a bonafide starting catcher. Adding Baker, whose career slash line is good for a cacther, gives the Padres a good lefty bat off the bench. The Marlins did not exactly play in a big time hitters park, thus the hitting regression to Petco won’t be as sharp. Bakers caught stealing percentage while in the minors was 26%. If he fully recovers from TJ then I don’t expect a drop off from his 19% career in the majors. In the end, he is a servicable back up with more hitting tool than defense. Let’s face it, the Padres need hitting at this point and needed a backup catcher. As for Luis Martinez, cacthers undoubtably get injured at some point and so we can expect Martinez to see time. This move is about depth and improved bench hitting.

    As for the loss of Leblanc… just look at the pitching depth in front of him: Latos, Stauffer, Luebke, Richards, Moseley, Bass. That is 6 right there and the Padres are expected to go get a veteran pitcher to make 7 that are already ahead of Leblanc on the depth chart. Leblanc would have been at best the 8th man in the pecking order this year. Leblanc at this point was just taking up a roster spot if they did not move him.

    There is no downside in this move for the Padres.

    • Cankersly 4 years ago

      I imagine the veteran pitcher they sign would bump Moseley or Richard off the 25 man roster unless they use Moseley in the bullpen. Though you are right about the pitching depth.

      The Padres added two lefties in Oramas and Hernandez to the 40 man. They will be in either AA or AAA next year and both of them, as well as Castro, should all be better pitchers than LeBlanc. The Padres have tremendous pitching depth at the upper minors now with those 3 I mentioned plus Erlin, Kelly, and Wieland.

      • padresfuture 4 years ago

        You nailed it. Leblanc is 8th on the depth chart and 7 guys in AA are about to pass him. Amazing what a difference a year makes. A year ago, I was concerned with pitching depth but with the emergence of Luebke and Bass and with Moseley proving he can be back of the rotation starter, the Padres now have some pitching depth. I just hope some of that AA pitching can turn into 1 or 2 front of the rotation starters.

  32. They’re both just awful.

  33. Cankersly 4 years ago

    I think it’s a nice move for the Padres. Wade doesn’t have a spot on the Padres 25 man roster and is out of options. If the option was either trade him for John Baker or release him I am happy they traded for John Baker. I imagine John Baker was about as much value as they could get for LeBlanc.

    A left handed catcher does not have to be very good to be a valuable player. If he rebounds from his injury to be productive then great. If he doesn’t then we just lost LeBlanc who we were going to lose anyway.

  34. Pete 4 years ago

    Watch Baker go ham this year like Maybin did, and Leblanc be a somewhat decent reliever in what will surely be a complete repeat of last years deal between these two teams.

  35. OptimisticMarlinsFan 4 years ago

    So now the Fish have Chris Volstad from the left side too. Sweet.

    • Triple Hawpes Brewed 4 years ago

      Both suck, so what’s your point?

      • OptimisticMarlinsFan 4 years ago

        uhhh that was kinda my point….

        • Triple Hawpes Brewed 4 years ago

          Then you suck at making it.

          • LUWahooNatFan 4 years ago

            It’s called sarcasm, genius

          • OptimisticMarlinsFan 4 years ago

            Yeah, thanks. At least someone understands!

          • Triple Hawpes Brewed 4 years ago

            Which isn’t always apparent in type, genius. Hence my point about him not being good at getting his point across.

          • OptimisticMarlinsFan 4 years ago

            I thought the fact that I called him the left-handed Chris Volstad was good enough…

  36. Triple Hawpes Brewed 4 years ago

    Padres lineup is a complete joke. Not one hitter to be concerned about if you’re the opposing pitcher.

    • padresfuture 4 years ago

      Depends on whether or not Blanks and Rizzo step forward this year. Mostly, I do agree with you.

    • OptimisticMarlinsFan 4 years ago

      What’s your point?

  37. padresfuture 4 years ago

    For all those Padres fans that are already starting to say “here we go again signing and aquiring old players”… wait just a minute. The Kotsay signing and Baker additions are different than moves like Vinny Castilla, Jim Edmonds, and last years cast aways.Kotsay and Baker are low cost additions to the “bench”. Guys like Castilla, Edmonds, and Hawpe were aquired to “start”. The Padres are handcuffed until the Heath Bell thing sorts itself out as he represents $10m in salary. Although I dont expect Jose Reyes, the Padres will spend some money and whether or not Heath Bell comes back makes a huge difference in how they spend their money. The Padres could spend between $10 and $25 million this offseason depending how the Bell and potential middle infield trades work out. So hold your horses… unless they go spending $7m on Manny Ramirez and call him our starting right fielder.

  38. Lastings 4 years ago

    LeBlanc to Marlins, “How you doin?”

  39. If you have a near 5 career ERA as a starting pitcher and you call Petco home, maybe you should call it quits.

  40. rsanchez1 4 years ago

    I’m a Baker fan, but this deal makes sense for the Marlins. The Marlins still have John Buck signed for two more seasons, and they also have Brett Hayes as a backup catcher. Brett Hayes is younger, had a nice year last year behind Buck, and hasn’t been injured as much as Baker, so I can see why they would part with him.

    Now, bring on the big FA signing.

  41. Solid addition for the Padres to pair with Hundley with an immediate back up/bench upgrade. Given the Padres pitching depth, no loss on the Padres depth chart whatsoever. Solid move for Byrnes and the Padres. Also, not a bad move for the Marlins. This move benefits both teams.

  42. benpontz 4 years ago

    John Baker is a decent defensive guy… he can handle a pitching staff. LeBlanc is erratic, but he may flourish with a change in scenery.

    • johnnycomelately9 4 years ago

      While most just look at the numbers, I actually watched Leblanc pitch and saw him put solid starts together in the majors during 2010. His AAA numbers weren’t very good last year; but for what it’s worth, he was 9-1.

      The pads had the best minor system AA-A but their AAA team finished near the bottom. You also must realize that Tucson is the complete opposite of petco. With that said, he’s actually transferring to a much friendlier home in Miami.

      To all Miami fans I say: wade can’t get it over 90 but has a plus to plus plus change. He has good to above average control with good off speed, but one of the worst and straightest fb. Probably could be average to above in the pen, but at best, average as a starter.

  43. This has been so exciting it must be really slow out there for all these comments on two low tier players,

  44. FYI,  Writing for Fangraphs, Mike Axisa thinks the Padres got the better end of the recent John Baker-for-Wade LeBlanc trade.
    The Padres’ willingness to spend on their international scouting and development system is paying dividends, writes Dan Hayes of the North County Times.

  45. Ya, but you’ve gotta believe they coulda pulled more than Baker…

  46. Fifty_Five 4 years ago

    I didn’t say they shouldn’t have dealt him. It’s just Baker has hardly been on the field over the last two seasons and he already couldn’t throw anyone out in the first place. After Tommy John I doubt he’s able to throw any better

    Plus Wade is Matt LeBlanc’s cousin

  47. UncleCharles 4 years ago

    More like the wine you get in a box at K-Mart?

  48. TartanElk 4 years ago

    How dare you disparage Franzia. Us college kids have to drink terrible wine somehow.

  49. Chipper_is_GOD 4 years ago

    K-Mart sells wine? Wait, I didn’t even think there was a K-Mart anymore.

  50. I’ve seen his videos, and it feels that he knows how to pull the ball to the left field. This always helps in PETCO.

  51. GasLampGuru 4 years ago

    I’m shocked they got anything for LeBlanc, let alone a modest improvement over Hundley.  LeBlanc lacks stuff, command and confidence.  As a Padres fan I can’t stand watching him pitch; he’s worse than Steve Trachsel was in terms of working slowly and lulling his defense to sleep.

  52. Matt LeBlanc of ‘Lost in Space’ fame?  That is by far the cool factoid of the day

  53. UncleCharles 4 years ago

    It tastes like the dog vomited up a dead squirrel but will get you drunker quicker and harder than any fancy wines.

  54. Yankees420 4 years ago

    Chillable Red is where it’s at!

  55. bayareabeast 4 years ago

    slap it

  56. TartanElk 4 years ago

    I can taste exactly what that squirrel ate. Now that, is a quality wine.

  57. InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

    Nothin better than some slap the bag to get the night goin

  58. Tko11 4 years ago

    It all tastes the same at one point.

  59. azdsnd 4 years ago

    Ding, ding, ding!  We have a winner.

    Leblanc is awful.

  60. sdsuphilip 4 years ago

    trading a non major league level catcher for a non major league level pitcher?

  61. leachim2 4 years ago

    So? He’s also the equivalent of better than Rob Johnson.

  62. sdsuphilip 4 years ago

    As is Wade Leblanc, look at his road numbers and get back to me.

  63. leachim2 4 years ago

    nah he’s not gonna start, but he will be a monumental upgrade over Rob Johnson.

  64. TartanElk 4 years ago

    Let’s back this train up. Let us not forget the sweet, sweet nectar that is Boone’s Farm.

  65. TartanElk 4 years ago

    Let’s back this train up. Let us not forget the sweet, sweet nectar that is Boone’s Farm.

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