The Cubs would like to add multiple starting pitchers to the Major League roster this off-season. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are expected to sign at least one free agent starter. And the Cubs have been linked heavily to the big names on the market, David Price and Zack Greinke, and the second tier of veteran starters. The Cubs are believed to be very interested in a reunion with Jeff Samardzija and are one of the teams in on John Lackey.
According to David Kaplan, the Cubs are also talking to free agent RHP Mike Leake. And Leake would fit the Cubs need for a veteran that could give Joe Maddon quality innings toward the back of his rotation.
Leake had a good season in a combined 30 games between the Reds and Giants. Leake was 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Leake allowed 80 runs, 79 earned, on 174 hits with 49 walks and 119 strikeouts in 192 innings. Leake was 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 21 starts for the Reds prior to the trade.
Outside of Cincinnati and San Francisco last year, Leake was 5-6 with a 2.91 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Leake allowed 33 runs on 80 hits with 20 walks and 62 strikeouts in 15 road starts (102 innings). And for his career, Leake has been a little better on the road. Leake is 28-25 in 87 games, 83 starts, with a 3.48 ERA and 1.22 WHIP compared to a 36-27 mark in his home parks with a 4.28 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.
Leake has made at least 30 starts in each of his last four seasons. And Leake has topped 190 innings the last three years with a career-high 214 1/3 innings in 2014.
This past season, Leake was 2-0 in four starts against the Pirates with a 2.03 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. And he was almost as good against the Cardinals. Leake posted a 1-1 record in three starts with a 2.42 ERA and 0.72 WHIP. Leake made one start versus the Brewers and was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.83 WHIP. Leake allowed three runs on eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts in six innings, a quality start.
In 17 games, 16 career starts, versus the Cardinals, Leake is 5-7 with a 4.42 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. At Busch Stadium, Leake is 2-2 in six career starts with a 3.19 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.
Leake has made 24 starts against the Pirates and is 8-3 with a 3.01 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Leake owns a 3-3 record in 13 starts at PNC Park with a 2.46 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Against the Brewers, Leake is 2-4 in 10 career starts with a 4.60 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. At Miller Park, Leake is 2-2 in seven starts with a 5.06 ERA and 1.59 WHIP.
Facing some rather poor Cubs rosters in his career, Leake is 3-2 in 10 starts at Wrigley Field with a 4.20 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Seven of the 30 runs, 12 of the 63 hits and three of the 10 longballs he’s allowed at Wrigley came in two starts this past season.
Mike Leake just turned 28 years old and is not attached to draft pick compensation. Jim Bowden’s latest prediction has Leake signing for four years and $56 million, $14 million AAV. But the J.A. Happ contract (three years, $36 million) will likely make Leake a more expensive backend of the rotation starter than he was a week ago.