Left-hander Wade LeBlanc has decided to retire, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports (Twitter link). The 37-year-old LeBlanc is hanging up his cleats after pitching in parts of 13 Major League seasons with nine different teams, as well as a stint in Japan with the Saitama Seibu Lions in 2015.
Originally a second-round pick for the Padres in the 2006 draft, LeBlanc has pitched in a number of different roles over his long career. The southpaw has seen work as a full-time starter, full-time reliever, and most often a little bit of both, with teams usually eyeing LeBlanc in various types of swingman or long relief roles. Interestingly, despite the “veteran lefty” mold, LeBlanc didn’t see much specialist work since left-handed batters actually did more damage (.843 OPS) against him than right-handed batters (.763 OPS).
Never a big strikeout pitcher or a high-velocity arm, LeBlanc relied more on off-speed pitches than his fastball, and got out by generating soft contact. When LeBlanc was getting that weak contact and keeping the ball in the park, he was quite effective, though home runs became an increasing problem in recent years.
Of LeBlanc’s nine MLB teams, his longest stints came with the Mariners (333 1/3 IP), Padres (293 1/3 IP), and Marlins (117 1/3 IP). He most recently saw action with the Cardinals, signing a contract in June when the Cards were besieged with pitching injuries.
LeBlanc helped stabilize things by posting a 3.61 ERA over his 42 1/3 innings in a St. Louis uniform, helping the team tread water until eventually going on a major hot streak down the stretch. Unfortunately, LeBlanc wasn’t there to enjoy that success, as he was sidelined with an elbow injury and was reportedly set to undergo some type of medical procedure to address his elbow in September.
LeBlanc will retire with a 4.54 career ERA over 931 1/3 Major League innings. We at MLBTR congratulate LeBlanc on an excellent career and we wish him the best in his post-playing endeavors.
The Baseball Fan (Doesn’t like the Cubs)
Have good retirement Wade!
Consumate professional, underrated, despite a fastball a tick slow, he could locate and had a nasty change up. Appreciated his time with the Padres and wish him the best in retirement
Good luck to him
Au revoir Frenchy!
Was hoping he would latch on somewhere just to see who got called up first–LeBlanc or Tommy Milone
But he’s left handed!
Talk about a player that battled to play in the Major Leagues. He made a career as a #5 starter and outlasted many better pitchers. He will be back.
A 4.77 FIP he was very lucky. Pitched 931 innings for a total of only $3.59M the least amount of money of anyone with so many innings.
I think the totals a tad bit low. Some of his league min $ doesn’t seem to be counted right. But still wow… guy kinda got screwed was just never a FA at the right time!
He made more than that with the Mariners alone. Spotrac puts his career earnings at $8,369,498.oo
That’s pretty substantial compensation for doing something you love. I call that a successful career.
Wonder if his recover didn’t go well. I understand he is on the older side but one would think someone who was as decent and consistent as he was last year in STL plus his reputation as a consumate professional would’ve gotten him a look at least in ML camp.
I enjoyed watching LeBlanc pitch for the M’s. Boy he could spin it! I loved watching him keep the hitters off balance- au revoir Frenchie!
LeBlanc is the reason the Cardinals made the playoffs. He was Chuck Finley, John Smoltz, Jeff Weaver and Will Clark
I am absolutely amazed he lasted this long. I followed the Padres closely back when he debuted. I would always wonder how he would keep surfacing with all these other teams. I remember him more as ineffective…
Hopefully his retirement kicks in from the MLBPA.
A great name for pitching shutout innings. All the best.
One of those guys you never minded having for depth. Solid, solid pitcher.
Typical crafty southpaw. And incredibly frustrating to watch your team bat against him. Enjoy retirement
How About Them A's
Anyone noticed that 3 consecutive Orioles players stories were listed in a row?
Anyway, good long career Wade. Lasted a lot longer than anybody anticipated.
Always seemed like a good dude. Enjoy retirement.