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Mariners activate Paxton, DFA LeBlanc, and more

James Paxton returns from the DL

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

It was a calm, quiet Thursday morning. Over here at Lookout Landing we had just posted a silly and fun dating piece. A soft breeze and the smell of hazelnut coffee wafted through my townhouse. It was the perfect time for Jerry Dipoto to strike.

A bit neater outline of the moves:

  • INF Mike Freeman recalled
  • LHP James Paxton activated from the DL (will start tonight)
  • RHP Tony Zych optioned to Tacoma
  • LHP Wade LeBlanc DFA'd

The biggest news of all of this is Paxton coming off the DL. He's been the Mariners' best starter this year, running a 3.02 FIP while accumulating a staff-best 2.1 fWAR in just 81.2 innings. A healthy Paxton returning to the circus of a rotation the Mariners have now is a major positive. He made one rehab outing during his time on the DL, tossing three shutout innings for Tacoma on Saturday. Mike Freeman, meanwhile, will act as insurance while Kyle Seager nurses a bruised foot. He's not the most interesting addition, but the cupboard is pretty bare in terms of backup third basemen.

Tony Zych and Wade LeBlanc are your casualties of the move. Zych has made two appearances since returning from the DL and experienced some command issues, but I'm assuming the expectation here is that he'll be back up with the club the moment the opportunity arises.

LeBlanc probably won't be so lucky. While he was somewhat of a perfectly fine band-aid at times, his overall production (5.69 FIP, 4.47 xFIP) hasn't been great. LeBlanc was nice in that he was a healthy, real-life pitcher during a time where the Mariners only had about three of those, but he was not nice in that he had a severe dinger-issue this year and ideally shouldn't be relied upon to do anything more than make a spot start or two.