The Cardinals have announced the signing of pitcher Mike Leake to a five year deal (2016-20) with a mutual option for 2021. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed to be worth $80 million ($93 million with the option). The deal comes with a full no-trade clause.
“We are pleased to announce the addition of Mike Leake to our starting rotation,” stated John Mozeliak. “Mike is considered to be one of the game’s most consistent performers and he is certainly no stranger to the National League and the N.L. Central. His proven experience and all-around ability should be a real plus for us.”
Leake, 28, is 64-52 with a 3.88 ERA in six major-league seasons, ranking 5th in the National League in both innings pitched (1,083.2) and games started (172) during that time span.
He was 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA in 30 starts (192.0 IP) and and 1.16 WHIP between the Reds and Giants last season capping it with a two-hitter, his first career shutout, on September 30th against the Dodgers. Since he was traded during the season, the Cardinals will not have to forfeit a compensatory draft selection next season.
Leake has been especially effective in 19 career games against the Cubs, going 9-2 with a 3.15 ERA and against the Pirates, going 8-3 with a 3.01 ERA. He ranked 11th in the NL last season with a 1.16 WHIP.
“I look forward to the rivalry with the Cubs and I look forward to taking them down,” said Leake.
While pitching at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park (4.28 ERA in 90 games) throughout most of his career, Leake has fashioned a 3.48 career ERA on the road, including a 3.19 mark in six career games (42.1 IP) at Busch Stadium III. His 3.48 road ERA since 2010 is ranked 5th among all N.L. pitchers (min. 500 IP).
The 5-10, 190-pound native of Southern California was the Reds 1st round draft selection (8th player overall) in 2009 out of Arizona State University and after pitching in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League that year, he vaulted directly to the majors, where he debuted in April of 2010.
“I always enjoyed facing him, now I’m going to enjoy learning from him.” Leake said of Wainright.
Leake, who has won 10 or more games four times in six seasons, including a career-high 14 in 2013, has made 30-plus starts in each of the past four (2012-15) seasons. He ranked 2nd among N.L. pitchers in fewest pitches/inning (14.3) last season and was 8th in double plays/9 IP (1.03) and 11th in ground ball pct. (52.1).
Leake is considered to be an accomplished player with the bat as well, ranking 1st in hits (77), 1st in doubles (16), 3rd in slugging pct. (.321), 4th in HR’s (6) and 4th in RBI (23) among all pitchers since 2010.
“They’ve basically put together a dynasty in my opinion. Now that I’m a part of it, I can say I’m proud to be a Cardinal.”
Leake will wear jersey number 8 this season. He wore 44 with Cincinnati which is currently worn by Trevor Rosenthal and he wore 13 with the Giants which is taken by Matt Carpenter. Leake says he wore 8 in college, his family likes it, he wants to ‘break the mold’, and said that he went single digit because he’s an athlete, not just a pitcher.
With today’s signing of Leake, the Cardinals’ 40-man Major League roster currently stands at 38 players.
Congrats to the Cardinals for going out and upgrading their bench power. Mike Leake: 1 HR, 3 RBI Pete Kozma: 0 HR, 2 RBI
Jason Heyward vs. Leake: 1-14 (.071), 3 K’s.