Leone hits arbitration as a Super 2 player

 After a solid season out of the Toronto Blue Jays' bullpen, Dominic Leone is eligible for salary arbitration as a Super 2 player. Photo Credit: Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports

After a solid season out of the Toronto Blue Jays' bullpen, Dominic Leone is eligible for salary arbitration as a Super 2 player. Photo Credit: Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports

By Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

At the correct spin, Dominic Leone found himself a Super 2 player.

When Major League Baseball mathematicians spun the wheel not long ago in an attempt to figure out who might qualify for salary arbitration in 2018 with less than three years' experience, Leone struck magic. The Blue Jays' reliever made the cut right on the spot.

The wheel of fortune landed at two years, 123 days, allowing Leone to sneak in as the 11th Toronto player eligible for arbitration this winter. The formula for Super 2 status works this way: it is determined by finalizing the top 22 percent of players with between two and three years of service time. The additional requirement is that the player had to be on the major-league roster at least 86 days last season.

Leone qualified in the latter regard, even though he spent time with the Jays' triple-A affiliate in Buffalo in late May and early June. He turned out to be Some Kind of Wonderful out of the Jays' bullpen with a 3-0 record and a 2.56 ERA in 70 1/3 innings of work.The Norwich, Conn. native even picked up his first big-league save on Sept. 11 when he worked a scoreless ninth inning.

This was the same Leone, who had been designated for assignment in November of 2016 by the Diamondbacks. Not long after Arizona's move, the Jays gobbled him up by claiming him off waivers.

The Blue Jays saw something in Leone back in 2014. Leone's rookie season with the Mariners was exemplary. He posted an 8-2 record with a 2.17 ERA in 66 1/3 innings. 

So Leone has hit the jackpot earlier than he expected. He was given $548,200 in 2017 and instead of getting in the $600,000 range in 2018 as a player who normally would still have been under club control, he now stands to earn around $1 million or more as a Super 2.

More importantly, Leone has his game back. He pitched in 2017 like he did in 2014.

Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: dannogallagher@rogers.com