The Miami Marlins have made their first move of the offseason, and it's a real blockbuster. They have sent John Baker to the Padres in return for Wade LeBlanc.
The Miami Marlins have been involved in numerous rumors over the past few months, but their first move this offseason still comes as a complete surprise. No, they didn't sign Jose Reyes. No, they didn't trade for Gio Gonzalez. Instead, they pulled off the blockbuster coup of the century:
While neither player is especially exciting, this trade fills needs for both clubs. The Padres need a backup catcher for starter Nick Hundley, and the Marlins have been looking to add left-handed rotation depth. LeBlanc isn't nearly as good as some Gio Gonzalez is, but he comes at a much cheaper cost. If the Marlins are simply looking for a potential back-of-the-rotation starter or bullpen fodder, LeBlanc will fill in fine.
Michael Jong over at Fish Stripes fleshes out LeBlanc's profile a bit more:
LeBlanc is a lefty and the Marlins have been coveting a left-handed pitcher for a while. However, in 293.1 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.
For more on this move and the Miami Marlins' offseason, follow along with Fish Stripes.