The Mariners have outrighted southpaw Wade LeBlanc to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Seattle is also set to recall outfielder Nori Aoki tomorrow, per the report.
LeBlanc, 32, has provided the M’s with fifty frames of 4.50 ERA pitching on the year. He has been tagged with 14 home runs, but does carry a strong 4.56 K/BB ratio. LeBlanc threw quite well at Triple-A earlier in the year with the Blue Jays before he was dealt to Seattle, and he may well contribute at the major league level again down the stretch.
Aoki is another veteran who has bounced down to the minors, with the Mariners taking advantage of his remaining option year to keep their roster in order. His most recent trip to Triple-A occurred because the team was facing quite a few opposing southpaws, says Dutton, thus reducing the need for the left-handed hitter.
The 34-year-old Aoki had actually turned up his play quite a bit since his first demotion, so the Mariners will no doubt hope he can keep producing upon his return. Still, though, he may not have as robust a role when he comes back given the ongoing presence of Seth Smith and the team’s recent acquisition of Ben Gamel. Manager Scott Servais says he expects to lean heavily on the newcomer.
As Dutton explains, Aoki is not only playing to set himself up for next year but is also nearing some contract incentives. He is unlikely to reach the 480 plate appearances needed to trigger his vesting option, but is only 11 away from a $100K bonus at 400 plate appearances and can earn another $100K for every 25 PAs thereafter.