What LeBlanc’s Re-signing Means for Orioles Pitching
By Arrick Joel
The Orioles have brought Wade LeBlanc back into the picture after granting him free agency
On Friday evening, Roch Kubatko of MASN, among others, reported several roster moves the Baltimore Orioles were set to make as Opening Day remains less than a week away. The moves include placing veteran first baseman Chris Davis on the 60-day injured list and optioning left-handed pitcher Keegan Akin to AAA Norfolk, which both ultimately revolve around the re-signing of left-handed pitcher Wade LeBlanc.
LeBlanc’s contract is a one-year Major League deal worth $700K, meaning he will most likely begin the season on the Orioles’ big league roster. That theory is assured by the 40-man roster opening created by Chris Davis being placed on the 60-day IL due to a lower back strain, and the optioning of Keegan Akin to AAA Norfolk. The decision on Akin comes as somewhat of a surprise as many analysts predicted him to continue in the Major League rotation where he ended the 2020 season.
In 2020, Akin carried an ERA of 4.56 over 25.2 innings, notably striking out 35 batters in that span. However, Akin got off to a rough start during his Grapefruit League outings this Spring, allowing 10 earned runs over 9.0 innings of work. The Orioles optioned second baseman/outfielder Jahmai Jones and shortstop Richie Martin to Norfolk along with Akin, according to a report from Dan Connolly of The Athletic on Twitter.
With Matt Harvey having had his contract selected by the Orioles earlier in the week, LeBlanc joins an already heated battle for starting rotation spots.
Here’s how RosterResource projects the Orioles’ starting rotation with LeBlanc’s signing:
- John Means (LHP)
- Matt Harvey (RHP)
- Dean Kremer (RHP)
- Jorge Lopez (RHP)
- Wade LeBlanc (LHP)
If these projections are fully accurate, pitchers such as Felix Hernandez, Bruce Zimmermann, and the recently acquired Adam Plutko will be left on the outside looking in.