AP Photo/Ben Margot

Cardinals are “looking closely” at Mike Leake, Diamondbacks said to have advantage

1 Comment

Mike Leake may be the next domino to fall on the starting pitching market.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Cardinals are “looking closely” at the free agent right-hander ahead of this week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville. There’s also said to be mutual interest between Leake and the Diamondbacks, who just signed Zack Greinke to a massive six-year, $206 million deal.

Leake makes his offseason home in Arizona and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says that could give the D’Backs an edge if the money is close.

Returning to San Francisco remains another option for Leake, though Jeff Samardzija‘s $90 million contract probably makes that a little more unlikely. That team still wants to add a bat.

Leake, 28, posted a solid 3.70 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 119/49 K/BB ratio in 192 innings (30 starts) this summer between the Giants and Reds. He owns a 3.59 ERA (105 ERA+) in 598 2/3 innings since the beginning of the 2013 season.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

Bob Levey/Getty Images

No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.