Cards sign free-agent pitcher Mike Leake
Right-handed starter agrees to five-year deal thru 2020
ST. LOUIS, Mo., December 22, 2015 - The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed free-agent pitcher Mike Leake to a five-year deal for the 2016-20 seasons with a mutual option for 2021. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"We are pleased to announce the addition of Mike Leake to our starting rotation," stated Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. "Mike is considered to be one of the game's most consistent performers and he is certainly no stranger to the National League and the N.L. Central. His proven experience and all-around ability should be a real plus for us."
Leake, 28, will join a Cardinals starting rotation that already consists of All-Stars Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez and veteran lefty Jaime Garcia.
Leake owns a career mark of 64-52 with a 3.88 ERA in six seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (2010-15) and San Francisco Giants (2015), ranking 5th in the National League in both innings pitched (1,083.2) and games started (172) during that time span. Leake went 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA in 30 starts (192.0 IP) between the Reds and Giants in 2015, and because he was traded during the season, the Cardinals will not have to forfeit a compensatory draft selection next season.
While pitching at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park (4.28 ERA in 90 games) throughout most of his career, Leake has fashioned a 3.48 career ERA on the road, including a 3.19 mark in six career games (42.1 IP) at Busch Stadium III. His 3.48 road ERA since 2010 is ranked 5th among all N.L. pitchers (min. 500 IP).
The 5-10, 190-pound native of Southern California was the Reds 1st round draft selection (8th player overall) in 2009 out of Arizona State University and after pitching in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League that year, he vaulted directly to the majors, where he debuted in April of 2010.
Leake, who has won 10 or more games four times in six seasons, including a career-high 14 in 2013, has made 30-plus starts in each of the past four (2012-15) seasons. He ranked 2nd among N.L. pitchers in fewest pitches/inning (14.3) last season and was 8th in double plays/9 IP (1.03) and 11th in ground ball pct. (52.1).
Leake is considered to be an accomplished player with the bat as well, ranking 1st in hits (77), 1st in doubles (16), 3rd in slugging pct. (.321), 4th in HR's (6) and 4th in RBI (23) among all pitchers since 2010.
With today's signing of Leake, the Cardinals' 40-man Major League roster currently stands at 38 players.