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).


Leave a Reply

120 Comments on "Marlins, Padres Swap John Baker For Wade LeBlanc"


Fifty_Five
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t like this for the Pads

UncleCharles
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

“Maybe a move from petco helps him.”

That’s not possible.

UncleCharles
3 years 9 months ago

Their is always hope isn’t there?

Fred_G_Sanford
3 years 9 months ago

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

CaseyBlakeDeWitt
3 years 9 months ago

Please don’t bring politics onto here..

redmountain
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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.

3 years 9 months ago

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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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.

3 years 9 months ago

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

marlinsfan210
3 years 9 months ago

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

johnnycomelately9
3 years 9 months 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.

mmwatkin
3 years 9 months ago

The Marlins FINALLY make their big move of the offseason

3 years 9 months ago

This is the Big Move we all been waiting for!

Donald Munson
3 years 9 months ago

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

azdsnd
3 years 9 months 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

3 years 9 months ago

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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

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

iheartyourfart
3 years 9 months ago

ok.

padresfuture
3 years 9 months ago

Profound

Chipper_is_GOD
3 years 9 months ago

Marlins are hustling this offseason….

Dodgersarelife
3 years 9 months ago

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

3 years 9 months ago

REALLY?

Dodgersarelife
3 years 9 months ago

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

3 years 9 months ago

Really again?

Dodgersarelife
3 years 9 months ago

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

3 years 9 months ago

Really? 

3 years 9 months ago

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

leachim2
3 years 9 months ago

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

Chris Coyle
3 years 9 months 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).

greengrove
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

Nick Hundley is an good starting major league catcher.

3 years 9 months ago

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

leachim2
3 years 9 months ago

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

johnnycomelately9
3 years 9 months ago

Luis Martinez.

notsureifsrs
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

hes playing winter league in the Dominican…

cjmsd
3 years 9 months ago

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

The_BiRDS
3 years 9 months ago

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

leachim2
3 years 9 months ago

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

FS54
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

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

TartanElk
3 years 9 months ago

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

3 years 9 months ago

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

3 years 9 months ago

Blunts