Reports have already indicated that the Giants will have interest in retaining Mike Leake beyond this season, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today adds a division rival to the mix of teams expected to pursue the right-hander (Twitter link). Per Nightengale, the D-Backs, in addition to the Giants, will show interest in Leake as a free agent once the season ends. Arizona is known to be on the hunt for rotation upgrades, and Leake would certainly add some stability; he’s shown the ability to thrive in a homer-friendly setting in Cincinnati, thanks in part to strong ground-ball tendencies, and he of course is familiar with Arizona, having played his college ball at ASU. Leake wouldn’t be the top-of-the-rotation fix the D-Backs have previously mentioned, but he’d be a nice source of 30-plus starts and about 200 innings to pencil into the rotation behind Patrick Corbin. Leake said Wednesday evening that he hopes to make a quick decision in free agency rather than spend a lengthy period of time feeling out the market. He did call it a “strong possibility” that he’d have interest in returning to the Giants, though he stopped short of saying he considered them an early favorite in free agency.
Here’s more from the NL West…
- Yesterday might have marked Ian Kennedy’s final start as a member of the Padres, and if it did, he ended his San Diego tenure with a flourish, writes MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Kennedy, a free agent after the season, allowed one run on five hits and no walks with 11 strikeouts in six innings versus the Brewers. “There’s plenty of opportunities to talk,” Kennedy replied when asked about his potential departure from the Padres. “I think [general manager] A.J. [Preller] and [agent Scott Boras] have a good relationship. I feel I have the same relationship with him [Preller].” Kennedy will likely be the recipient of a qualifying offer, per Brock, and I can’t personally envision him accepting the one-year deal. Kennedy added that he thoroughly enjoyed his time in San Diego but is “excited” to see what awaits on the open market. As Brock notes, he’s the lone pitcher in the NL to make 30-plus starts in each of the past six seasons, and he also posted a 2.63 ERA over his final 17 starts, so interest in Kennedy should be strong.
- Brett Anderson’s final start of the season was also a strong one, writes the O.C. Register’s Bill Plunkett. And, in making that final start, he positioned himself to be added to the Dodgers’ postseason rotation after some recent struggles and earned himself some extra cash, as Anderson will earn $2.4MM worth of incentives on top of his $10MM base salary based on innings pitched. The oft-injured southpaw discussed with Plunkett what it means to him to have completed a full, healthy season. “For all of the stuff I’ve been through the last handful of years to be able to make pretty much every start they asked me to is pretty special,” said Anderson. “Zack [Greinke] and Clayton [Kershaw] make it look easy, but double-digit wins in the big leagues is a tough thing to do [Anderson won 11] so I take pride in that.” Of course, more than pride was at stake, as Anderson will hit the open market looking for a multi-year deal this winter.