Cincinnati skipped Mike Leake’s turn in the rotation yesterday in order to keep Johnny Cueto on regular rest and Mark Sheldon of MLB.com writes that Leake “realizes he is on the bubble” for the postseason roster.
Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, and Homer Bailey are all ahead of him on the rotation depth chart and playoff teams rarely if ever require a fifth starter, so Leake’s status may come down to whether the Reds have any interest in using him as a reliever.
His five career relief appearances have been brutally bad, with 17.36 ERA and 14 hits allowed in 4.2 innings, but Leake noted that he could also be useful as a pinch-runner or pinch-hitter and told Sheldon: “I know I haven’t deserved a spot to be one of the four, but I feel I can still help.”
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”