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.”
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.