The New York Yankees will be on the look-out for pitchers this off-season, and their main targets will be those that were part of trades at the deadline in 2015. Mike Leake was one of those targets the Yankees could’ve went for last season, but instead they took Luis Severino‘s upbringing as the acquisition they needed. Leake instead went to the San Francisco Giants where he didn’t perform as well as expected. Now because of this the Giants reportedly have not talked to him about contracts since the season ended.
Leake gave the Giants 55.1 IP and a 2-5 record to end the season. His ERA was 4+ and couldn’t help the Giants stay in contention for the NL West as planned either. Leake was originally on the Cincinnati Reds so it’s safe to say the drop off was unexpected. Usually when this happens it’s because of a pitcher switching leagues (ex: Johnny Cueto), but Leake was still in the National League, a league with less bat power than the American League. That should be the main thing to keep in mind when thinking of him possibly coming to the Bronx. A lot of the time it’s hard for pitchers who aren’t ‘aces’ to switch leagues, especially when one is so overpowered compared to the other. Leake did end the season on a CG shut-out over the Los Angeles Dodgers though.
Another issue to think about is that Leake was struggling with a hamstring injury throughout the last half of the season in which he missed a couple of starts right when he was acquired. He was 9-5 (3.56 ERA) with the Reds before the injury, so that very well could have had something to do with his downfall in the second half. Yankees fans know all too well about hamstring injuries and how they linger much longer than managers or players care to say.
I personally would keep Leake in the back of my mind for now. There are a lot of other pitchers to look at before him, which is good news for the Yanks. Say Leake did come to the Bronx, he wouldn’t even be a top three arm with Severino, Tanaka and a healthy Nathan Eovaldi as we gear up for the 2016 season.
Leake is a bigger gamble compared to some other pitchers who are ready to take another step in their careers, let’s see how it plays out with him an the Giants for now.
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