Seattle Mariners: Mike Leake Trade Profile, San Francisco Edition

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 31: Mike Leake #8 of the Seattle Mariners delivers against the Houston Astros in the first inning at Safeco Field on July 31, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 31: Mike Leake #8 of the Seattle Mariners delivers against the Houston Astros in the first inning at Safeco Field on July 31, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

The Seattle Mariners are still looking to tweak their 2019 roster and have a few veterans left to shop. One such name on the list is the right-handed pitcher, Mike Leake.

For Mariners fans, Mike Leake‘s name has long been mentioned in trade talks. He has reportedly been on the block all off-season and has even been brought up in the infamous Wil Myers for Jean Segura and Mike Leake deal.

The simple truth is that Leake will not generate a ton of trade interest. But this doesn’t mean he is bad. In fact, Leake is quite good and will soon be the best and safest starter still on the market. The 31-year-old still has a lot to offer.

A number 4 in a good rotation, Leake is as close to a lock as it comes on the mound, throwing 167.2 innings pitched or more since 2011. He has also posted a 4.15 xFIP or lower in every season in that time span. Leake is the epitome of the inning-eating, groundball machine.

While it isn’t “sexy” it is valuable. On top of that, Leake has tremendous value in his contract. Scheduled to earn $16 million in 2019 and $15 million in 2020, Leake’s contract is actually below market value before we even consider that the St. Louis Cardinals at eating $9 million over the next 2 seasons, making him a 2-year, $22 million investment for the acquiring team.

Leake also has an $18 million option for 2021 that includes a $5 million buyout. Therefore, Leake is a 2-year, $27 million contract. If he was on the open market this off-season, he would make twice as much.

Leake isn’t a #1 starter but is a solid mid-rotation arm and a reasonably cheap one as well. For the Mariners, Leake’s no-trade clause does limit his market, as the RHP has stated he would like to stay on the west coast.

The Giants, assuming they want to give themselves another shot, could use a solid arm like Leake, and they don’t exactly have the funds to go sign an arm like Dallas Keuchel. Leake is a good fit in SF and with Jeff Samardzija, Madison Bumgarner, and Dereck Rodriguez firmly entrenched in the rotation, adding Leake could make sense, especially if Seattle is willing to eat cash to save the Giants more money.

The Giants don’t have the deepest farm system, but Leake isn’t going to break their system to acquire. Here is our proposal:

We know what the Giants would be getting in Leake. As for the Mariners, Heath Quinn represents an interesting player. The odd thing about Quinn is that there is very little consensus on who Quinn is.

MLB Pipeline ranks Quinn as the organization’s 10th best prospect but Fangraphs didn’t rank him inside their Top 50. Baseball Prospectus has him 7th, and has him 17th. Wherever these services have him ranked is irrelevant though. All that matters is how the Giants and Mariners feel about him.

The 23-year-old OF had a great season in Advanced A, slashing .300/.376/.485 in 96 games. He also added 24 doubles, 14 home runs, and 42 walks. However, Quinn was getting his second shot in the league and has already dealt with several injuries in his young career.

At 6’3″, 220 lbs., Quinn is still a good athlete and can play a solid right field at the moment. Quinn’s size lends itself quite a bit of power. However, there are swing concerns that make many wonders if he can hit quality big league pitching, a question we could start to see some answers for in 2019.

The Mariners have a ton of OF depth in their minor league system, so they could look elsewhere. But at this stage of their rebuild, talent is by far the most important factor in trade evaluation. If Seattle wants more immediate help, perhaps somebody like Austin Slater or Joe Panik.

The market for Leake isn’t hot right now. But once more names come off the board in free agency, we could start to see some movement. Leake is also a prime candidate to get dealt in spring training if a contender suffers an injury. Unlike other players, Leake won’t lose a lot of value if he starts the year in Seattle.

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The Mariners would probably like to trade Mike Leake. But they most certainly do not have to do it right now. And even though nobody gets excited about a Mike Leake trade, he is still a good starter on a fair contract and should net the Mariners something decent in return.