Baseball America

Marlins Deal John Baker To Padres For Wade LeBlanc

The Deal
The Marlins and Padres brokered a minor trade, each dealing from surplus, just two days prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Lefthander Wade LeBlanc, a Padres second-round selection in 2006 with nearly 300 big league innings under his belt, heads to Miami, while 30-year-old, lefty-hitting catcher John Baker moves to San Diego.

Baker had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in September 2010 and has started just 20 games behind the plate in the big leagues during the past two seasons (and just 13 more in the minors). He went 19-for-91 (.209) for Florida during that time, but he showcased his offensive potential during his rookie and sophomore seasons of 2008-09 by batting .281/.364/.423 with 14 homers in 656 plate appearances. He provides a lefty-hitting complement to Padres starter Nick Hundley, while also providing a preview of the type of player Double-A catcher Jason Hagerty may grow to be. Baker’s arbitration eligibility helped squeeze him out of the picture in Miami, where John Buck and Brett Hayes figure to handle the bulk of catching duty in 2012.

LeBlanc rode a plus-plus changeup to the big leagues with San Diego, but the lefthander has yet to figure out a way to consistently retire lefty batters (.326/.378/.535 in 299 PA) or pitch effectively in a yard smaller than Petco Park (6.16 ERA in 144 2/3 innings on the road). The Padres’ entire Double-A San Antonio rotation may be ready for the big leagues in 2012, making LeBlanc expendable. The Missions won the Texas League with a group headlined by prospects Casey Kelly, Joe Wieland, Robbie Erlin, Juan Oramas and Simon Castro. LeBlanc has one option remaining in case he doesn’t make the Marlins’ staff out of spring training. He profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter.

 
Marlins Acquire
Wade LeBlanc, lhp
Age: 27. Remaining Commitment: Under club control for 2012-16 seasons (approximately $400,000 salary in 2011).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) YEAR W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
San Diego (NL) 2011 5 6 4.63 14 14 0 79.2 84 42 41 7 28 51 1.41
3-Year Totals 16 19 4.27 49 48 0 272 276 130 129 37 98 191 1.38
 
Padres Acquire
John Baker, c
Age: 30. Bats: L. Remaining Commitment: Arbitration-eligible for 2012-14 seasons ($417,000 salary in 2011).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) YEAR AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Florida (NL) 2011 .154 16 13 0 2 0 0 0 1 2 3 0 .267 .154
3-Year Totals .259 151 464 66 120 28 1 9 57 52 110 0 .340 .381

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