Oakland added some bullpen depth by acquiring left-hander Fernando Abad from Washington for minor leaguer John Wooten.
Abad mostly struggled for the Astros from 2010-2012, but pitched well for the Nationals this year with a 3.35 ERA and 32/10 K/BB ratio in 37 innings. He’ll likely slide into a middle relief role in Oakland, although the A’s bullpen is definitely in a state of flux with closer Grant Balfour a free agent.
Wooten is a 22-year-old corner outfielder who hit .257 with 20 homers and a .764 OPS in 133 games at low Single-A. He was a 37th-round pick in 2012 and isn’t considered much of a prospect.
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.