Will Mike Leake be the next veteran sent out of town in a Mariners trade?
For a team set to sell off veteran players before the July 31 MLB trade deadline, the best thing that can happen is for those players to put up some eye-popping numbers.
To that point, the Mariners front office had to be ecstatic watching Mike Leake on Wednesday night.
The 31-year-old right-handed starter threw a complete game in a 14-1 Mariners win over the Astros, allowing one earned run on six hits and a walk while striking out five. And if there was any question about the M’s shopping Leake, there shouldn’t be now.
According to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, Leake starting on Wednesday wasn’t even a sure thing as MLB sources told Divish that Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto had been trying to finalizing a trade as late as Tuesday night that would have sent Leake to Arizona. That obviously didn’t materialize, but with Leake’s recent performance it could end up helping the Mariners’ cause as they look for the right return for Leake in a trade.
Leake 5-6 with a 4.30 ERA and 1.27 WHIP this year, but in the last week he’s put together two of his best starts of the year. With Wednesday night’s performance combined with the seven innings of two-run ball he threw May 31 against the Angels, Leake has shaved off 0.63 from his ERA. And while he has had a fair share of rough outings, he also has eight quality starts out of his 13 outings.
Like just about veteran the Mariners have traded or will try to trade this year, Leake has a big contract that isn’t all that easy to unload. According to spotrac.com, he is under contract through 2020, has a base salary of $16 million this year and $15 million next year, and his deal also includes a mutual option at $18 million for 2021 with a $5 million buyout. In addition, Leake has a full no-trade clause, which means Leake doesn’t have to accept a trade to any club he doesn’t want to go to.
Based on comments Leake made in a recent Seattle Times story, however, it’s safe to assume he would welcome going to a new team while the Mariners are struggling through the early stages of a rebuild.
“Being a part of it from my point of view, it’s tough,” Leake told the Times’ Matt Calkins. “I mean, there’s days where you wonder, if I’m not part of it, should you trade me to someone who wants me more?”
Leake is just one of a long list of established players the Mariners are reportedly looking to trade, according to a report last weekend by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
Mariners are deep in sell mode. “Trying to trade everyone,” as one rival put it. Beyond Bruce, also talking about Encarnacion, Healy, Gordon, Beckham, Leake, etc. Talks said to be “ongoing” with Phillies on Bruce.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 1, 2019