We Cardinals fans have been good girls and boys, and we haven’t complained – well, not too much. There’s no coal in our stockings this year – Santa Mo gave us a starter for Christmas. What a nice gift! Thank you, Santa Mo!
Mike Leake will be a good fit for the team. And he’s a great hitter too. Now all the Cardinals need is a power hitter that can play first base, and our Christmas wish list will be complete. (Santa Mo, you have a couple of days left to get that done.) Here are all the details on the Leake signing:
CARDS SIGN FREE-AGENT PITCHER MIKE LEAKE;
RIGHT-HANDED STARTER AGREES TO FIVE-YEAR DEAL THRU 2020
ST. LOUIS, MO, December 22, 2015– The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed free-agent pitcher Mike Leake to a five-year deal for the 2016-20 seasons with a mutual option for 2021. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to announce the addition of Mike Leake to our starting rotation,” stated Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager 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, will join a Cardinals starting rotation that already consists of All-Stars Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez and veteran lefty Jaime Garcia.
Leake owns a career mark of 64-52 with a 3.88 ERA in six seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (2010-15) and San Francisco Giants (2015), ranking fifth in the National League in both innings pitched (1,083.2) and games started (172) during that time span. Leake went 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA in 30 starts (192.0 IP) between the Reds and Giants in 2015, and because he was traded during the season, the Cardinals will not have to forfeit a compensatory draft selection next season.
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 innings pitched) at Busch Stadium III. His 3.48 road ERA since 2010 is ranked fifth among all N.L. pitchers (min. 500 IP).
The 5’ 10”, 190 lb. native of Southern California was the Reds’ first round draft selection (eighth player overall) in 2009 out of Arizona State University. After pitching in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League that year, he vaulted directly to the majors, where he debuted in April of 2010.
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 second among N.L. pitchers in fewest pitches/inning (14.3) last season and was eighth in double plays/9 innings pitched (1.03) and eleventh in ground ball percentage. (52.1).
Leake is considered to be an accomplished player with the bat as well, ranking first in hits (77), first in doubles (16), third in slugging percentage (.321), fourth in home runs (6) and fourth in RBI (23) among all pitchers since 2010.
With today’s signing of Leake, the Cardinals’ 40-man Major League roster currently stands at 38 players. (So there is room for a power hitting first baseman, Santa Mo.)
Sorry I didn’t get to post a Christmas gift guide this year. I was really busy this month. I hope you found the Cardinals Christmas presents you needed for that special fan on your list. Until next time, have a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!