Mariners bol­ster staff, get Leake from Car­di­nals

Truro Daily News - - SPORTS -

The Mariners ac­quired righthander Mike Leake from the St. Louis Car­di­nals on Wed­nes­day for mi­nor league in­fielder Ray­der As­canio as Seat­tle tries to bol­ster its be­lea­guered start­ing ro­ta­tion dur­ing the AL wild-card race.

Seat­tle is with­out James Pax­ton, Felix Her­nan­dez and Hisahi Iwakuma due to in­juries and have strug­gled to get five in­nings out of their starters for most of the past month. Seat­tle has had just 16 starts of at least six in­nings in 43 games since the All-Star break.

St. Louis will send Seat­tle US$17.5 mil­lion to cover a por­tion of the $55.6 mil­lion Leake is guar­an­teed dur­ing the re­main­der of an $80 mil­lion, five-year con­tract through 2020. The Mariners also ac­quired $750,000 in in­ter­na­tional sign­ing bonus al­lot­ment as part of the deal.

Seat­tle started the day on a four-game los­ing streak and has fallen three games be­hind Min­nesota in the chase for the sec­ond wild card spot.

“This is as much about the next three, po­ten­tially four years as it’s about this next four or five weeks,” Seat­tle gen­eral man­ager Jerry Dipoto said. “Ob­vi­ously, we feel like Mike helps us walk­ing in the door for 2017. But the chance to ac­quire a guy that is go­ing to be pitch­ing his 30-year-old season next year and get some con­trol­lable pitch­ing in the door with a his­tory of dura­bil­ity like Mike has for us was a huge con­cern go­ing into the off-season and some­thing we were able to ad­dress in Au­gust.”

Leake has been one of the most durable starters in the Na­tional League but has not been at his best since the All-Star break. Leake is 7-12 with a 4.21 ERA for the season, but since the break is 1-5 with a 6.90 ERA in nine starts since July 14.

Dipoto said the plan is for Leake to make his first start for Seat­tle some­time this week­end when the club re­turns home to play Oak­land.

“His first 10 starts were spec­tac­u­lar. Ob­vi­ously his last 10 have not been great for him,” Dipoto said. “Like a lot of guys you go through highs and lows through a season and in Mike’s case we’re go­ing to bet on the big pic­ture.”

This was the sec­ond trade be­tween the clubs this sum­mer. Seat­tle pre­vi­ously traded for Marco Gon­za­les, who has been part of the ro­ta­tion

Mariners.

Leake is not a short-term rental. He has a $15 mil­lion salary this year and is owed $17 mil­lion next season, $16 mil­lion in 2019 and $15 mil­lion in 2020. The Mariners ac­quire an $18 mil­lion op­tion for 2021 with a $5 mil­lion buy­out.

St. Louis will sent the Mariners $2.5 mil­lion on Sept. 30, $3 mil­lion each on July 1 and Sept. 30 next year, $2.5 mil­lion each on those dates in 2019 and $2 mil­lion each on those dates in 2020.

“The con­tri­bu­tion the Car­di­nals made was both sig­nif­i­cant and made us feel good about the price point,” Dipoto said. “And the way we viewed it is if Mike Leake is a 30-year-old free agent and we were able to achieve this deal with him we would feel com­fort­able sign­ing him to that con­tract. It was a real con­sid­er­a­tion and a strong fac­tor in what led us to do­ing this deal.”

As­canio, 21, split time this season be­tween Class A Clin­ton and A Modesto with a brief stint at Triple-A Ta­coma. He was bat­ting. 217 with 25 dou­bles, nine home runs and 44 RBIs. The Car­di­nals will as­sign him to Class A Palm Beach. strug­gles for the

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