Mariners get pitching, acquire Mike Leake from Cardinals

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 26: Mike Leake
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 26: Mike Leake /

The Mariners, after all their waiting, have some help on the way. Jerry Dipoto cooked up a deal Wednesday morning, trading Modesto infielder Rayder Ascanio for Mike Leake from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Leake on the season has an ERA of 4.21 in 2017. He’s pitched in 26 games and tallied a total of 154.0 innings. Leake started 2017 red-hot, with a 2.24 ERA after 10 starts. He has posted a 5.78 ERA in the 16 starts since then, but he publicly wanted out of St. Louis, and maybe the move to the Mariners will do him well.

The biggest asset he brings to Seattle is his durability. Since 2010 he’s made the second-most starts in the NL. He boasts 228 games while LA’s Clayton Kershaw has started 233. Along with Leake, the Mariners receive about $17 million in cash (to relieve the burden of Leake’s weighty contract), and some international signing money. Essentially, the Mariners pick up  the 3 years Leake has left and will be on the hook for $36 million.

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This trade was pretty slick for Jerry Dipoto. While taking on a chunk of salary, they swapped a mid-level prospect for a Major League pitcher with sometimes dominant stuff and got the Cardinals to pay for some of it.

Maybe this was compensation for the Tyler O’Neill-for-Marco Gonzales trade that took place back in mid-July.

In 2017, 18 of Leake’s 26 starts have been 6 innings or more. It’s not hard to look at the rotation the M’s have sent out all year and deduce that Leake’s numbers will make him a cornerstone for the time being. Starting 2018 with a 1-2-3 of Paxton, Hernandez, and Leake isn’t half bad.

Now really quick we’ll look at Rayder Ascanio and see what Seattle surrendered to get Leake.

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The switch-hitting shortstop is currently at single-A Modesto, and is hitting .217. Over 4 seasons in the minors, he has a career average of .240. Essentially, with Jean Segura locked up for 5 years, Seattle doesn’t have a hole at shortstop. They especially don’t have room for a below-average shortstop, so swapping Ascanio for Leake is a lucrative move for Dipoto.

Ultimately, Dipoto finally got the pitching the Mariners needed, and while it may be too late to snag a playoff spot in 2017, they certainly cheaply bolstered their rotation depth for next season.