The Mariners won’t be exercising their $5MM club option on left-hander Wade LeBlanc, the team announced. LeBlanc will instead receive a $450K buyout and become a free agent.
LeBlanc will hit the open market almost 16 months after signing something of an unusual extension with the Mariners that paid him $2.45MM in guaranteed money (his $2MM in 2019 salary and the buyout of his option) and contained three different $5MM club/vesting options for the 2020, 2021, and 2022 seasons. The 2020 option would have vested if LeBlanc had finished the year without an arm injury and at least 160 innings pitched in 2019, though he only managed 121 1/2 frames last season, due in large part to an oblique injury that sent him to the IL for a month.
LeBlanc, who turned 35 in August, posted a 5.71 ERA, 2.97 K/BB rate, and 6.8 K/9 for Seattle last season, a notable step back from the solid numbers in his first year in Seattle (that led to the extension). Home runs were a particular problem for LeBlanc, who had a 2.1 HR/9. Eight of LeBlanc’s 26 appearances in 2019 were starts, though he was often utilized as a “bulk pitcher” working after an opener.