The Yankees have agreed to a minor-league deal with lefty Wade LeBlanc, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). He’ll receive an invitation to MLB Spring Training and an opt-out opportunity just before the start of the season, per Crasnick, who notes that the deal comes with a potential $1MM base rate of pay in the Majors. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale adds that LeBlanc also has an opt-out on June 15 and would earn a monthly salary of $32K in the minors. LeBlanc is represented by agent Joe Rosen.
LeBlanc, 33, engineered a return to the majors after spending a season in Japan in 2015 (and then appearing on the MLBTR Podcast). After spending some time as a swingman for the Mariners in 2016, he landed with the Pirates and threw well enough to earn a major-league contract in the following offseason.
Things didn’t go quite as hoped in 2017, as LeBlanc managed only a 4.50 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in his 68 innings in Pittsburgh. He did carry a personal-best 9.6% swinging-strike rate, though, and fielding-independent pitching metrics valued his output as better than the results (e.g. 3.97 SIERA).
As has long been the case, LeBlanc was much more effective last year against righties than when pitching against same-handed batters. It seems he’ll join a camp battle to earn a place as a long man for the Yankees.