Report: Rangers target Marlins' Cantu

Leave a comment’s Jon Paul Morosi says that the Rangers are showing strong interest in the Marlins’ Jorge Cantu and could offer a starting pitcher for the first baseman.
Cantu seems like a curious target, given that he’d cost a player or two in return and several free agent first basemen/designated hitters could offer similar production. However, unlike the alternatives, he is a right-handed hitter, something that could appeal to the Rangers as they look for more power to slot behind Josh Hamilton in the lineup.
It’s also interesting that the news leaked out just hours after Larry Beinfest told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that top first base prospect Logan Morrison is “ready to play in the big leagues.”
Indications were that the Marlins would keep Cantu, even though he’s due to earn $5 million or so next year. But since the market for Dan Uggla hasn’t developed as expected, perhaps they could change gears and use the money they were planning to spend on Cantu to keep Uggla around.
Morosi speculates that Brandon McCarthy could be the return in a deal for Cantu. That fits the Marlins’ need for more rotation depth, though given all of his recent health issues, McCarthy certainly doesn’t appeal to everyone.

Mariners sign Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.

This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.

The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.