Mariners send right-hander Mike Leake to Diamondbacks

John Marshall Ap Sports Writer
Thursday, August 1, 2019
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Former Mariners right handed pitcher Mike Leake pitching against the Angels on July 19. Leake pitched a perfect game through eight innings but in the ninth a ground ball broke up the perfect game. The Mariners beat the Angels 10-0.

Mike Leake heard he was going to be traded to Arizona earlier in the season and his name came up again at the trade deadline.

Now the right-hander doesn’t have to worry about rumors anymore. He’s headed back to the desert, where he played collegiately.

The Diamondbacks acquired Leake for minor league infielder Jose Caballero at the trade deadline Wednesday, not long after sending ace Zack Greinke to Houston for four prospects. Arizona agreed to pay Seattle nearly $19 million to cover most of the just over $25 million Leake is owed in his $80 million, five-year contract, which runs through 2020.

“I didn’t really know until about 15 minutes before the deadline,” Leake said before the Mariners played at Texas. “It came back up through the grapevine I guess, once they were able to get rid of Greinke, I guess it opened some things back up.”

Arizona made the biggest move at the trade deadline, sending Greinke to Houston for right-handers J.B. Bukauskas and Corbin Martin, outfielder Seth Beer and infielder Joshua Rojas. The Diamondbacks agreed to pay the Astros $26 million to cover much of the roughly $76 million the Greinke is due.

Arizona acquired rookie right-hander Zac Gallen from the Miami Marlins for minor league shortstop Jazz Chisholm and sent catcher John Ryan Murphy to Atlanta for cash.

Seattle pays $18,982,258 to cover most of the $25,161,290 Leake is guaranteed.

A $4,982,258 payment is due on Sept. 1, leaving the Diamondbacks responsible for $159,032 of the $5,161,290 Leake is owed from his $16 million salary this year — which comes to a prorated share of the $555,000 minimum.

The pitcher has a $15 million salary next season, and Seattle pays the Diamondbacks $9 million in equal $2.25 million installments next year on April 15, June 1, July 15 and Sept. 1. Leake’s deal includes a $5 million buyout of an $18 million club option for 2021, and the Mariners pay Arizona $5 million on Jan. 15, 2021.

Leake and Gallen will slide into the Diamondbacks’ rotation. Leake gives them a veteran presence to replace Greinke, and Gallen folds into their immediate and long-term plans.

The 31-year-old Leake went 9-8 with a 4.40 ERA in 22 starts with the Mariners this season. The right-hander has played 10 big league seasons, with stops in Cincinnati, San Francisco and St. Louis.

Leake was traded to Seattle from St. Louis for Rayder Ascanio in 2017.

“Obviously, Mike’s about as durable as they come,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “He takes the ball and he’s been on a really good run here of late. So it’s an opportunity for him to go back to Arizona — that’s where he resides in the offseason — going back home, it’s good for him and his family.”

Leake played three seasons at Arizona State and was selected with the No. 8 overall pick of the 2009 amateur draft by Cincinnati.

He’s back home and doesn’t have to worry about where he might end up next.

“It’s kind of you get fuzzy in the mind a little bit, he said. “You don’t know if you’re going to go anywhere or not. You’re told you’re maybe going to go some places and then it doesn’t happen. Other than that you’ve still got to throw the ball and try to throw nine innings every time.”

The 23-year-old Gallen is 1-3 with a 2.72 ERA over his first seven major league starts this season.

The 22-year-old Caballero hit .268 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 43 games for Class A Visalia this season. Arizona designated righthander Joey Krehbiel for assignment to make room for Leake on the 40-man roster.