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).



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