Cardinals trade Mike Leake to the Mariners

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In a move that no one was anticipating until just before it went down, the St. Louis Cardinals have traded pitcher Mike Leake to the Seattle Mariners. Bob Nightengale was the first to report the trade was imminent. Ken Rosenthal confirmed.

Leake is 7-12 with a 4.21 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 103/35 in 154 innings. He has roughly $55 million left on the five-year, $80 million deal he signed in December 2015. The deal runs through 2020 with a mutual option for 2021 and a $5 million buyout. Leake had a full no-trade clause too, which he obviously waived here. It’s unclear how much of the salary the Mariners are assuming.

No word yet on the return to St. Louis. We’ll keep you updated.

UPDATE: The Mariners just announced the deal, with new details:

No word yet on how much cash. The player heading back to St. Louis, Rayder Ascanio, is a 21 year-old shortstop who has played at A-ball, high-A and Triple-A this year (though only three games at Triple-A). His composite batting line is .217/.295/.355 in 111 games. He has a good defensive reputation but he obviously isn’t hitting much.

The deal fills an obvious need for starting pitching for Seattle. Leake is nothing spectacular, but he is durable and reliable. You know what you’re getting from him: 30+ starts and basically league average innings-eating. Decent control, not a ton of strikeouts. They don’t make as many pitchers like him as they used to but they’ll always have a place in baseball. For the Cardinals: some salary relief and a freed-up rotation spot.