Mike Leake Traded to Mariners; Cardinals Receive SS Prospect Rayder Ascanio

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2017

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 4:  Mike Leake #8 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 4, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals reached an agreement Wednesday to trade starting pitcher Mike Leake to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor league shortstop Rayder Ascanio.

Ken Rosenthal‏ of The Athletic first reported the news. The Cardinals later announced complete details of the deal, which included $750,000 in international cap space going to the M's.

Count Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn among those who didn't like the trade, per Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Dispatch"So we're five back in both and we're taking away a pitcher who can pitch 200 innings and get outs at a high level. That's tough."

It's been a tale of two halves for Leake in 2017. He posted a 3.12 ERA across 17 starts prior to the All-Star break. He's failed to replicate that performance during the past seven weeks, however, tallying an unsightly 6.90 ERA in his last nine outings.

Last month, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com noted the starter was dealing with general weakness, which he attributed to strength lost after dealing with shingles last year.

"I'm sure it is still partly affecting where I am today," Leake said. "All I know is my body feels different every start. I try to do the best I can with what I'm given each day. It's a matter of getting these kinks worked out and being able to get the strength back."

Jon Morosi of MLB Network pointed out that about $55 million remains on the five-year, $80 million contract the 29-year-old right-hander signed with the Cards before the 2016 season. The deal also included a no-trade clause, according to Spotrac. Bob Nightengale of USA Today confirmed the clause was waived to complete the swap. 

Nightengale noted the Cardinals paid around $42 million for Leake for two seasons.

Ascanio, 21, has accumulated a .217/.295/.355 triple-slash line during stops at three different levels of the minor leagues this season.

Leake will attempt to get his season back on track to help bolster a Mariners rotation decimated by injuries to key contributors. Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Drew Smyly and James Paxton are all sidelined by a variety of ailments.

He'll join a makeshift group that also features the likes of Yovani Gallardo and Ariel Miranda as Seattle, which sits three games out of the second AL wild-card spot held by the Minnesota Twins, attempts to chase down a playoff berth.