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Earlier today, the St. Louis Cardinals traded away Mike Leake after just under 2 years of having him; Now, he is a member of the Seattle Mariners. The Marines received Leake, $17M over a multi-year period according to Ken Rosenthal, and international slot money while the Cardinals receive 21 year old middle infield prospect Rayder Ascanio.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 30, 2017
Leake gives the Mariners a veteran arm to help bolster a severely beaten up rotation. With Hishashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly out for an extended time, and both James Paxton and Felix Hernandez on the Disabled List, Leake will slot right in immediately into the front of the rotation. While Leake is having a sub-par year, with a 4.21 era and 1.35 WHIP with 103 strikeouts, he is definitely an upgrade from their worst starters. Yovani Gallardo has a 5.78 era in 21 starts this year, Christian Bergman has started 13 times with an ERA of 5.00. Leake is not having a career year by any means, but he is better than the above listed starters. With Paxton on track to be back by mid-September, he could make 2 or 3 more starts, and King Felix also on the same track as Paxton to make 2 or 3 more starts before the season ends, all the Mariners have to do is not lose too much ground in the AL Wildcard race and they could make a push in the final 2 weeks.
The Cardinals will be paying the $17M over the next few years to get rid of that big Leake contract, but they received shortstop prospect Rayder Ascanio. According to Kyle Glaser of Baseball American, Ascanio is a “defensive whiz with a light bat”. He is hitting a robust .217 whith 9 homers, splitting time in low-A and high-A ball. While he is still growing into his body and form at only 21-years old, the question is why do they need another defensive shortstop, with Aldemys Diaz already on the team. The answer may come out during this offseason, or the real acquisition of this trade could be the free’d up cap space they got.
Short version on Rayder Ascanio: Plus-plus defender at SS, light bat, ok speed but poor baserunner. Utility ceiling #Cardinals
— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) August 30, 2017
In the end, it is a win for both teams as the Mariners get the starter they need to make a push for the wildcard spot, while the Cardinals free up cap space and acquire a young prospect.