Over the weekend, we learned that Giants executives Brian Sabean and Lee Elder were on hand at Wrigley to watch the Reds take on the Cubs, ostensibly to take a closer look at Reds starter Johnny Cueto. It turns out that they stayed in Chicago on Saturday night too in order to scout fellow Reds starter Mike Leake, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links).
The Giants saw Leake give up five hits and three earned runs with one strikeout over the course of five innings. It wasn’t Leake’s best start of the season, but the right-hander has been pretty decent on the whole, pitching to a 4.35 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 13 starts this season. The 27-year-old had even stronger numbers prior to this year. From 2010 to 2014, Leake posted a 3.92 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9.
The Reds are staring at a sizable 12.5 game gap between them and the first place Cardinals, leading many to speculate that they will be sellers in July. Cueto and even Aroldis Chapman have been mentioned in trade rumors, but Leake could also make sense for a contending team such as the Giants.
One AL scout recently told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that Leake should be able to “pitch in either league with no problem.” That same scout speculated that there could be more bites on Leake than any other hurler at the deadline, but that remains to be seen. Leake is earning $9.775MM this year and will be eligible for free agency after the season, making him a possibility for a short-term rental or more. The Reds did not try to sign Leake to an extension this offseason and that reportedly did not sit well with the pitcher.