On December 8, 2016, the St. Louis Cardinals signed Mike Leake to be a consistent rotation piece for the future of their franchise. On Wednesday, the Cardinals dealt his future to the Seattle Mariners.
After signing Leake to a five-year, $80 million deal, the Cardinals have traded Leake, along with $750,000 and international bonus pool money for infield prospect Rayder Ascanio. Seattle will pay the remaining $55 million left on Leake’s contract through 2020.
Ken Rosenthal of the Atlantic was first to report the deal.
St. Louis Deals Mike Leake to Seattle
The fact that St. Louis is trading Leake just over halfway into the first year of his contract is relevant to how poorly he’s pitched since the All-Star break. Leake was the best pitcher in the Cardinals rotation through April and led the National League in ERA until mid-May. Yet, in his last nine starts, he has undoubtedly been the worst pitcher in baseball. Through his first ten starts, hitters amassed a 57 OPS+ against Leake. In these last nine, hitters are producing a 150 OPS+. This result combined with a 6.94 ERA and 1.90 WHIP have driven his season ERA to 4.31. It also resulted in St. Louis abruptly ending the future of Mike Leake in the Cardinals rotation.
Seattle is trying to boost its playoff chances and adding to a depleted rotation is the best place to start. Four-fifths of the Mariners’s opening month rotation is gone to injuries, yet they still sit only three game behind the Minnesota Twins for the second Wild Card spot, as of Wednesday. Leake will join a cobbled rotation beside Yovani Gallardo and Ariel Miranda as he aims to get his season back on track.
The Cardinals receive Rayder Ascanio, a 21-year old Venezuelan infield prospect. Ascanio is slashing .217/.295/.355 with nine home runs and 25 doubles in 111 games in Advanced-A Modesto.
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