Before he was a household name in the political world Nate Silver wrote about baseball and used his projection skills for batting averages and ERAs instead of electoral college votes.
Now that the election is over Silver took a break from politics to analyze the American League MVP race between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, and in a lengthy, well-written, numbers-driven piece for the New York Times he argues that Trout should win the award.
Silver presents most of the same numbers and makes most of the same arguments that various other sabermetrically inclined writers have been doing for the past month, but the words probably carry a little more weight coming from him and I’d be curious to find out how many readers were swayed by his article when they might otherwise have brushed aside the same ideas from someone without so much cachet.
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.