The Seattle Mariners have acquired RHP Mike Leake, cash and international bonus pool space from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for SS prospect Rayder Ascanio.
The Mariners, needing starting pitching, with James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma all currently on the DL. Leake is a reliable starter, making at least 30 starts in every season since 2012, and is just four starts from hitting that mark this year. Also, his control makes him a worthy acquisition. The only problem is his contract. The M\’s will also acquire cash, but it\’s not going to be all of the $55 million he\’s owed over the next three years. He was having a good season, but a horrible August has weakened his numbers.
Leake, 29, has a 4.21 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 103 strikeouts in 154 innings for the Cardinals this year. In his eight year MLB career for the Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds, Leake has a 4.02 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 958 strikeouts in 1414.1 innings.
The Cardinals are looking to get rid of some salary. Leake\’s high contract hurts his value, so they have to get a lesser prospect, and give up cash. Ascanio isn\’t the best hitter but is a good fielder.
Ascanio, 21, has a .217 batting average, nine homers, 44 RBIs and 12 steals in 450 Plate Appearances between Low-A, High-A and AAA. In his minor league career, Ascanio has a .240 batting average, 15 homers, 158 RBIs and 36 stolen bases in 1696 Plate Appearances.
I think the Mariners win this trade. They get a reliable MLB starter, plus cash, for a low leveled prospect, who struggles offensively. Even though they still will overpay Leake, it\’s a fair deal for them.