Leathersich Claimed on Waivers

Left-handed reliever Jack Leathersich was claimed off waivers by the Cubs Friday afternoon.

Leathersich made his major league debut with the Mets in April of 2015, finishing his tenure as a Met 0-1 with a 2.31 ERA over 11.2 innings. Throughout his minor league career, Leathersich averaged 15.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

Leathersich had a promising start to his young career, but was curiously sent down to Triple-A in late June after success in the big leagues. On June 29th, his first game back with Triple-A Las Vegas, manager Wally Backman had him throw 57 pitches during a year in which he averaged 14 pitches per outing. This called for Tommy John surgery, and surprisingly, didn’t call for the firing of Backman.

The Rule 5 Draft takes place every winter, which gives many players with a certain amount of time in an organization the opportunity to be ‘drafted’ by another team if they are not on the teams current 40 man roster. Leathersich was taken off the 40 man roster to open up spots for other rising prospects, with Sandy Alderson and the Mets thinking that no team would waste a roster spot on a pitcher who may not throw again until the end of next year. They thought wrong, as the Cubs picked him up, greatly solidifying the future of their bullpen.

The 25 year old Leathersich, if properly rebounded from Tommy John, will no doubt prove to be a very effective reliever for a major league team at some point. This, although it may seem minor now, I believe will prove to be a devastating loss to the future of the Mets’ bullpen.

This leaves New York in an awkward position as far as left-handed relievers go. Internally, they have Dario Alvarez and Josh Smoker in Triple-A and Double-A respectfully, although neither is a shoe-in for a big league spot. Josh Edgin is recovering from Tommy John surgery and is due back some time in the summer, leaving Sean Gilmartin as seemingly the only lefty reliever in the bullpen.

This increases the chances that New York enters the sweepstakes for Cincinnati fireballer Aroldis Chapman, whom the Reds are reportedly looking to ship out before the GM Meetings in December. On the free agent market, names like Jerry Blevins, Tony Sipp, Matt Thornton and Antonio Bastardo are all established major leaguers available at reasonable prices, so don’t be surprised if the Mets sign one of those four. The loss of Leathersich is devastating for New York, and I fear that, with the loss of Tyler Clippard, Bobby Parnell, and Buddy Carlyle to free agency, the Mets will begin to feel the ripple effects should they not work to rebuild this bullpen.

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