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

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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.

Padres sign Jordan Lyles

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The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.

Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.

Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.