BY SPNW Staff 09:30AM 08/30/2017

Mariners trade for starter Leake from Cardinals

Desperate for a healthy starting pitcher, the Mariners acquired from the Cardinals Mike Leake, 29, who has been on a fade in the season’s second half.

The Mariners traded for one of the National League’s most durable starters, Mike Leake. /

The Mariners Wednesday acquired from St. Louis RHP Mike Leake, cash considerations and international slot money for the current signing period in exchange for minor league INF Rayder Ascanio. Leake, 29, went 7-12 with a 4.21 ERA in 26 starts for the Cardinals this season.

“Mike gives us an experienced starter that will help us as we navigate our way towards a playoff spot this season,” said GM Jerry Dipoto in a statement. “As one of the most durable starters over most of the last decade, he’ll be a valuable addition for not just the near future, but for seasons to come.”

Leake began the season 6-6 with a 2.97 ERA in his first 16 starts before going 1-6 with a 6.94 ERA over his last 10, making him expendable.

Leake signed a five-year, $55 million deal in 2016 free agency. He gets $17 million in 2018, $16 million in 2019, $15 million in 2020 and $18 million mutual option in 2021, with a $5 million buyout. Since he was acquired before the end of the revocable-waiver trade period Friday, he’s  eligible for the postseason, should the Mariners make it.

The Cardinals reportedly have agreed pick up a total of $17 million of Leake’s salary, spread over four years.

Since his MLB debut season in 2010, his 228 starts are the second-most in the National League behind Clayton Kershaw’s 233. Since the start of 2012, his 180 starts are tied for the most in the National League with Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. He’s one of eight MLB pitchers to make at least 30 starts in every season since 2012 and has a chance to do so again this season.

In eight seasons, Leake is 80-76 with a 4.18 ERA with 958 strikeouts in 233 games, including 228 starts for Cincinnati (2010-15), San Francisco (2015) and St. Louis (2016-17). He was drafted by Cincinnati in the first round in 2009 out of Arizona State University.

Ascanio, 21, split this season between low-A Clinton and high-A Modesto, while also appearing in three games with AAA Tacoma. In a combined 111 games, he hit .217 with nine home runs and 44 RBIs. The Mariners signed Ascanio Dec. 6, 2012 as an international free agent out of Venezuela.

The Mariners, who have dropped four consecutive games and are three games behind in the chase for an AL wild card slot, conclude their three-game set with Baltimore Wednesday at 12:05 p.m., PT. LHP Ariel Miranda (8-6, 4.62) will throw for Seattle opposite RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (5-9, 6.57).


  • Dale

    Well, why not? What have the Mariners got to lose? Unfortunately, a pitcher with a 4.21 ERA in the National League probably translates to about a 4.5 ERA in the American League, so the Mariners will have to score some runs and do a lot of prayers. I hope this is not a setup for another disappointment for Mariners fans, or there may not be many more soon.

  • David Michel

    Too bad it was not Kelly Leak from the movie Bad News Bears. But he was a shortstop I think. Not impressed much with this dude. Servais just seems to strive for getting our starters to go 5 innings. If they go 6, its a bonus!

  • Kevin Lynch

    Paid a bunch for a guy the Cards did not want. I believe the numbers listed above total $66 million, not $55, so perhaps they are off. Hard to believe that’s what it is coming down to…$15 mill per for 4.30. Assuming he can deliver even that, which would easily make him the low ERA guy on the starting staff if Fingernails flares up again. By the way, when is Fingernails coming back to the rotation?

  • wabubba67

    Ugh…. that’s a lot of money for a below average starting pitcher. I would rather have traded for Verlander for a comparable amount….and we all would have been able to stare at Kate Upton and her twins.

  • jafabian

    At least he isn’t a rent a player and the Cards are picking up part of his salary. About the best Jerry can do with what he has to work with.