John Gibbons option for 2015 triggered


Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has a unique contract: every January 1st that he is employed, an option for the following season vests and an option for two seasons in the future is added. So, since he was employed yesterday, his 2015 option kicks in and a 2016 option is now dangling out there, pending his employment on January 1, 2015.

The purpose is to avoid Gibbons ever becoming a lame duck manager, which has become an increasingly thorny issue in Major League Baseball. Most notably when Jim Riggleman quit mid-season a couple of years ago simply because the Nationals wouldn’t ink him through the following season and beyond.

I’m not sure if anyone else does this. I do know, however, that the days of Walter Alston and the Dodgers sitting down every winter to hammer out a one-year deal for the upcoming season is a think of the past.

Mariners sign Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal

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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.