Marlins Acquire Wade LeBlanc from Padres, Trade John Baker

According to a San Diego Padres press release, the Miami Marlins and Padres have agreed to a deal that sends John Baker from the Fish and returns lefty starter Wade LeBlanc (H/T MLB Trade Rumors). Baker was the Marlins' primary catcher for the latter half of 2008 and all of 2009, sharing a platoon role with Ronny Paulino. He was injured for most of 2010, having suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. The Fish were likely to non-tender Baker this offseason, and so a trade does not hurt the Fish much. It will be sad to see Baker go, as he was such a nice guy and I've had a chance to speak to him and his father via Twitter at times. Good luck to you sir, and all the best.

What are the Marlins getting back in LeBlanc? Not a whole lot, honestly, although given the players involved that should not surprise anyone. LeBlanc is a lefty and the Marlins have been coveting a left-handed pitcher for a while. However, in 293 1/3 career innings with the Padres, he has not managed to do anything of interest. He has a career 4.54 ERA and 4.85 FIP while playing half of his games in the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball. He is also an extreme fly ball pitcher; for his career, he has only gotten ground balls in 34.7 percent of his balls in play. With a non-elite strikeout or walk rate, LeBlanc was simply a spare part in San Diego, and there is a good chance he will just be a spare part in Miami.

Perhaps the only advantage of this move is that LeBlanc has only two years of service time total in baseball despite playing in parts of four seasons in the majors. This means that unlike newly expensive options such as Chris Volstad (who is also a non-tender option), the Marlins will not have to pay LeBlanc a whole lot of money to be a fifth starter or long man out of the bullpen. He may not be a good pitcher, but he is a warm body who can pitch to major leaguers without being a complete embarrassment, and sadly the Marlins were missing pitchers of that type after numerous 2011 injuries depleted the team's pitching depth. This resolves nothing, but it does provide said depth.

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