Seattle Mariners 2019 Position Preview: Starting Pitchers

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 22: Marco Gonzales #32 of the Seattle Mariners warms up in the bullpen prior to taking on the Chicago White Sox during their game at Safeco Field on July 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 22: Marco Gonzales #32 of the Seattle Mariners warms up in the bullpen prior to taking on the Chicago White Sox during their game at Safeco Field on July 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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MIKE LEAKE

ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 13: Mike Leake #8 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on September 13, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 13: Mike Leake #8 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on September 13, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

It’s difficult to preview Mike Leake’s upcoming season with the Mariners because he may not be in Seattle for much longer. Leake’s name had previously been mentioned in talks with San Diego, though nothing has come of that for quite some time. However, it appears that the M’s have kept him available and that other teams view him as a fallback plan depending on where Dallas Keuchel winds up in free agency.

Given how slow the free agent market has developed, it seems that Leake will be heading to Peoria to participate in Spring Training activities for the Mariners in the meantime. This has suddenly made Leake – an otherwise “boring” player – one of the team’s most intriguing names heading into next week, as his status could have a significant impact on the futures of Erik Swanson and Justus Sheffield.

Though Leake lacks the flashiness of many starting pitchers on the open market, he’s been one of the most consistent #3/#4 pitchers in the MLB. Despite posting an underwhelming 4.14 FIP in 2018, Leake never missed a start and finished the year with 185.2 innings pitched. Ultimately, he was worth 2.3 fWAR, tied for the third-best mark of his career and 55th among qualified starters last season.

He’s a valuable pitcher, not just to other teams but to the Mariners themselves, who certainly won’t shed any tears if they fail to deal him this Spring. Leake can help them win games this season and still be able to maintain similar – if not better – trade value by July or August.

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