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Pirates extend Wade LeBlanc, lose Brady Dragmire

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have signed left-handed pitcher Wade LeBlanc for 2017, with one option year.  LeBlanc was eligible for salary arbitration and was seemingly a candidate to be non-tendered (I was going to add "on purpose" to the title, but I guess I already used that).  LeBlanc will get $750,000 in 2017 and, if extended, $1,250,000 in 2018.  There's a $50,000 buyout.

The Pirates acquired LeBlanc from Seattle in mid-September for a player to be named later or cash.  He pitched well in a dozen innings for the Pirates, but his career is a different matter.  He's been mediocre against right-handed hitters, with an opponents' slash line of 260/325/428 for his career.  Left-handed hitters, for some reason, have hammered him to the tune of 307/355/524.  He has a career ERA of 4.55 as a starter, mainly in pitchers parks, and 3.50 in limited time as a reliever.  His career xFIP is 4.57 and he's never accumulated more than 0.8 fWAR in a season, even as a regular starter.  He's a flyball pitcher with a low career K rate of 6.3, and has had problems with gopher balls despite the afore-mentioned pitchers parks.  LeBlanc throws only in the mid-80s and seems to be part of a growing obsession that the Pirates have with soft-tossing, replacement-level swing men.  In short, this is not an easy move to understand, beyond the fact that it's not much money and wouldn't be too painful to cut him (he can't be optioned).

UPDATE:  The Pirates also lost right-handed reliever Brady Dragmire in a game of waiver pong to the Rangers.  Whatever.  The 40-man roster now stands at 39.