Seattle Mariners fans were treated to a marvelous pitching performance from Mike Leake on Friday Night. He retired the first 24 men he faced and after missing out on his perfect game, he settled for a 1-hit, complete-game shutout.
But a common thought after the game amongst Mariners fans was that Leake had drastically increased his trade value. But the simple truth is that Leake’s value is basically set in stone. But what could raise his value is a new contender entering his market.
That new team may be an old team, the San Francisco Giants. Thought to be sellers a week ago, the Giants have won 7 straight games and are just 2 games back of a playoff spot. The Giants figured to be on of the busier teams this month, but are now reportedly backing off on talks to trade Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith.
But if San Francisco wants to chase a wild card spot and doesn’t want to spend from their limited farm system to do so, Mike Leake could make some sense. The Giants have no problem spending money and are nowhere near the luxury tax threshold.
They are familiar with Mike Leake, who spent the final two months of 2015 in the Bay Area. The destination should also please Leake, who has a no-trade clause and has expressed a desire to stay on the West Coast.
But despite this, the Mariners and GM Jerry Dipoto are going to have to find a way to lessen the financial load on San Francisco to get a deal done, and the Giants probably need to play really well over the next 10 days for this to be a discussion. But assuming they do, here is our proposal:
So instead of a straight cash drop, the Mariners agree to take on the remainder of Derek Holland‘s $6.5 million contract, plus the $500,000 buyout for his option and prospect Conner Menez for Mike Leake and $6 million. In total, the Giants save roughly $8 million of Leake’s remaining $21 million guaranteed over the next two seasons.
For Seattle, the prize of this deal is Menez, if you want to consider him a prize. A 24-year-old, left-handed pitcher drafted in 2016, Menez is an interesting stash play. He sits in the low 90’s with his heater and can touch 94 MPH. He also has a curveball and changeup, both of which have a chance to be average.
If Menez had a better command of his stuff, he would probably be impossible to get for Leake. But the lefty is handling AAA well and could be ready to show in the big leagues. His strikeout numbers are impressive and his control has shown some improvement. If everything clicks, Menez could be a #4 starter type. If not, a career as a Jesse Biddle type reliever is more likely.
Seattle was never going to get “a name” for Leake and even Menez may be a best-case scenario for the Mariners. But if they can land anything potentially useful for Mike Leake, it may just be time to pull the trigger.