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REPORTS: Cardinals Close to Trading Mike Leake to Mariners (Wut? UPDATES)

MLB News and Rumors

[ROLLING UPDATES below.]

I am gonna have to blink about 10 times before I can sort this one out.


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Bob Nightengale has had some notable whiffs, but he is generally plugged into the doings of the Cardinals, so:

We’ll see if this actually happens before tomorrow’s waiver trade deadline, but obviously this would signal something of a give-up from the Cardinals. Leak, 29, is only in the second year of the five-year deal he signed with the Cardinals before the 2016 season for $80 million.

Although he’s slumped of late, Leake has posted a league-average-ish ERA/FIP/xFIP slash line of 4.21/4.21/4.00, and that does have value. Does he have surplus value on his contract? Eh, maybe not that much. The Cardinals could be looking to clear salary for future significant additions while they have the chance. Or maybe they’ll eat a bunch of salary and pick up a nice return.

This is pretty wild right now.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

UPDATE: It’s the Mariners, which is obvious in retrospect, because Jerry DiPoto is always itching for trades:


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It’ll be fascinating to see if the Cardinals try to make any other moves by tomorrow’s deadline, and how this shapes their rotation plans in the offseason. Lance Lynn is a free agent, Adam Wainwright may finally be broken, and Alex Reyes will be coming off of Tommy John surgery.

UPDATE 2: I won’t proclaim to be an expert on the Mariners’ system, but this return makes it look like the trade was a pure salary dump:


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If the Cardinals are dumping a back-end starting pitcher to clear up salary, it does make you wonder if they’re planning to be aggressive in free agency this and/or next year. They have plenty of cash available.

UPDATE 3: The money:

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak talked about the trade as an opportunity to get started on the offseason and give young arms a chance. It sounds very white-flag-ish to me.


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.