Mike Leake pleads guilty to lesser charge as odd shoplifting case comes to confusing conclusion

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Mike Leake has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of “unauthorized use of property” following his shoplifting arrest last week, agreeing to 30 hours of community service after being charged with stealing $60 worth of shirts from Macy’s.

In addition to the community service attached to what is now a misdemeanor offense, Leake will enter a diversion program, which would eventually allow his record to be wiped clean as a first-rime offender.

Leake had remained silent about the issue since his arrest, but today he told reporters his side of the story:

On April 2, I went into purchase six shirts and they did not fit–wrong size. I proceeded to go to Macy’s and exchange them on my own instead of talking to the clerk. I set the six shirts down and got the correct sizes myself, walked out and they stopped me. I realize how boneheaded of a move that was. It was very wrong and I sincerely apologize. It was a serious lapse in judgment. For that, I will be willing to do anything I have to do

Assuming for a moment that’s true and this whole thing is due to Leake actually paying for shirts and then screwing up his attempt to exchange them for different shirts. Doesn’t it seem odd that he’d be so quick to accept 30 hours of community service and a misdemeanor guilty plea that involves entering into a program? For what he describes as basically being a doofus who doesn’t know how to exchange something at a store?

After all, as Leake explains it that seems like much more misunderstanding than law-breaking and you’d think it never would have gotten this far in the first place. There seems to be a significant disconnect here between the series of events as described by Leake and the reaction of everyone else involved, from Macy’s and police to prosecutors and now Leake himself based on the guilty plea and acceptance of punishment.

From the moment this story broke last week nearly every detail confused me and that remains true following the plea agreement.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.