The Giants have strengthened their starting rotation this evening, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the defending World Series champions have agreed to a deal to acquire right-hander Mike Leake from the Reds.
Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com confirms that the Reds will get two minor leaguers in return, including prospect right-hander Keury Mella. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi adds that infielder-outfielder Adam Duvall is the other piece in the deal.
Leake, an impending free agent, has a 3.56 ERA and 90/34 K/BB ratio in 136 2/3 innings over 21 starts this season. The 27-year-old has been especially effective of late, allowing just two runs in 30 innings across his last four outings. He owns a 3.43 ERA on the road during his career compared to a 4.31 ERA at home, so switching from Great American Ball Park to the pitcher-friendly AT&T Park should be good for him. And since he has now been traded during the season, he won’t have to worry about a qualifying offer in free agency this winter.
The only real question here is how the Giants intend to play things, as they now have more starters than rotation spots. Tim Hudson, who has a 4.80 ERA in 17 starts this season, is a possibility to be bumped.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.
Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).
It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.
The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.