Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Most of the focus, when it comes to possible trades with the Cincinnati Reds, will be on Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman. It is certainly understandable as to why that would be the case; Cueto is one of the best pitchers in baseball and is a free agent after this season, while Chapman, despite having one more year of team control, is going to be quite expensive in his final arbitration year. Yet, the Reds could get quite the haul for either player.
While Cueto may cost a lot more than the Kansas City Royals would be willing to trade, the Reds may well have a starting pitcher that would be the upgrade the rotation needs. Mike Leake may not attract the same amount of attention as either Cueto or Chapman, but he could be an interesting pitcher for the Royals to watch.
Leake has struggled this season, posting a 4.40 ERA despite a 1.228 WHiP. A ground ball specialist, Leake only has 43 strikeouts in 72.1 innings this season. However, that is offset by the mere 22 walks he has allowed, as Leake pitches to contact and looks to his defense, a strategy that would work well in Kansas City.
Interestingly, for a ground ball specialist, Leake has had difficulty keeping the ball in the yard. Despite allowing a fly ball on 27.5% of balls put in play, he has allowed twelve home runs. One has to imagine that a move to Kauffman Stadium would change that home run rate.
In terms of a possible low cost rental, Mike Leake could be a nice addition to the middle of the Kansas City Royals rotation. In fact, the Royals could be a perfect fit for Leake.
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