Friday, July 31, 2015

Welcome, Mike Leake!

He's not Cole Hamels or David Price but he is an upgrade.  We've seen him pitch and we know he is tough. Not overpowering, but accurate and consistent and his game should benefit from moving to our offense-suppressing park. Not to mention the Giants excellent fielders behind him!

He's 27, a California boy (Fallbrook), Arizona State alum, and former 1st-round pick (2009, two spots after Zack Wheeler). It should be noted that Mike Trout was the 25th pick that day.

The Giants parted with slugger Adam Duvall and right-hander Keury Mella. Mella is only 21 and is at San Jose (A+) but has a good reputation and is seen as a real up-and-comer. I can see parting with Duvall, he probably doesn't have the positional flexibility to crack the 25-man roster. His skills will play well in a hitter-friendly park. I could see him making it as a backup corner infielder and power bat off the bench. Mella projects higher, but he's so young and far enough away that the risk of parting with him is worth it. TINSTAAPP, right?

The Giants spent some significant minor-league capital for a short-term rental (Leake is a free agent at the end of the season). The cost should tell you what it would have taken for a superstar like Price or Hamels.

Looks like the odd man out is Tim Hudson. That's not surprising, he's one of the oldest players in the big leagues! I like the deal. Leake is a good pitcher and should be a solid addition. His xFIP runs in the 3.5-3.9 range, he's a steady 2-WAR producer who had 200+ innings and 20 quality starts last season, and his game score average this season (55) is his career-best. If he can give the team what Jake Peavy gave the team last season, which I think is quite likely, then it's winning move. It's a good counter to the Dodgers acquisition of Mat Latos and Alex Wood.




Ron said...

Good move - difficult to lose Mella, but Duvall was 'surplus to requirements', as they say in England - couldn't even get a shot, when McGehee was sucking, so you know that we had given up on him. Leake's career numbers are awesome, when you consider that 1/2 of his games were in Cincinnati. Hudson will end up on the Lincecum IR somehow.

Brother Bob said...

This is more or less the kind of trade I expected. Leake is better than Hudson, maybe better than Cain, at least currently.
Duvall should hit lots of homers in Cincy if he gets the chance.

campanari said...

Leake is a rental whom we can afford to keep and who may have a preference to be with us, since he apparently grew up a Giants fan. His ERA out of Cincinnati this year is 2.28, which compares favorably with the ERA of either Hamels or Price--I don't accept the assumption that he will be less helpful to us this year than either of them would have been. He is younger than either Hamels or Price, so that a longer commitment to him probably is less perilous than a long-term, high-priced contract for either of them.

As to Mella, I agree, TINSTAAPP.

JC Parsons said...

Losing our top prospect is tough but, as MOC points out, it was going to be a couple years til he is ready and all kinds of crap can happen. Using Duvall makes a load of sense, especially if you look at Duffy as a long term solution. It is rather clear that we didn't have the prospects to get Hamels, Price. And those guys were very unlikely to resign next year. Leake, however, may be affordable and a good fit for our ball park, so I bet we were going to buy him next year anyway. It is a good move for sure. We are definitely better and we gave up nothing that was in the plans of the immediate future. Leake has been incredibly hot lately, so I sure hope that trend doesn't fade away.

Don't we still need some more bullpen help?

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'll bet the Phillies wanted an ML-ready pitcher in the mix and I'm willing to bet the Giants near-ready guys like Osich were not going to be moved. The next generation of relievers (like Kontos and Strickland) needs to replace the Core Four and I think the Giants know that and don't want to mess up that timeline. I think our 'pen is fine, they've just been overworked. The starters need to chew up more innings, hence Leake, who will give the team those longer outings. I like this deal more and more. Plus Leake is a hitter (.219 career average and 3+ WAR on offense) and has a reputation as a good fielder, too. Young and available--I think the Giants will push hard to sign him.

M.C. O'Connor said...

OGC gives his usual thorough take on the trade.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Thanks for the plug! And the compliment!

I like getting Leake but lets not get ahead of ourselves: he's not equivalent to getting Price or Hamels. He has had a great road stats so far this year but that is driven by his ultra low .211 BABIP on the road this season (.280 BABIP lifetime including this, so probably roughly .285-.290 BABIP lifetime without 2015) so he's been ultra lucky this season.

Still, mid-to-low 700 OPS on the road is pretty good.

But I don't think we need Price or Hamels to win the division. The team that has won 14-3 since Pence returned (in Pence starts) is basically the team we expected to have to start the season, but was mostly not because first Pence then Aoki was out. Cain hasn't been as good as hoped, but Heston has been more than adequate as a substitute, Cain is probably our 5th starter right now, and that ain't bad vs. what other teams have masquerading as their 5th starter.

Our lineup has been better because both Crawford and Duffy has been better, Aoki as well, and they look like they will continue to. And that is countered a lot by how poorly Pagan has hit since hurting his finger in early May (Neifi-ish, yes, that bad), so it's not like we didn't have bad performances.

The Dodgers look like they are still trying to pull off some other deals for better starters, but given that, to me, Latos-Bolsinger is a push performance-wise (look at how well Bolsinger has done so far) and could end up with less (again Bolsinger has done very well so far; but no guarantee that he or Latos can continue for rest of season), their only true upgrade is whomever is the last starter, Wood, Carrasco, Gallardo, whoever they end up with, in their 5th spot, which matches the Giants upgrade with Leake over Hudson.

So I like our chances, assuming no more injuries to key players.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

MC, Evans noted on KNBR, plus to reporters last night, that the Giants had planned on pursuing Leake in the off-season, but now that he's in-house, will push our benefits to retain him.

According to KNBR report (only one I saw with names), Giants were close enough to deal with Phillies that the Phil's got Hamel to waive his no-trade for the Giants, just in case. Reportedly the Giants were offering Susac, Beede, and two others.

Agree that we need to keep our bullpen prospects and replace the Core Four, they have leaked a lot more oil than I thought that they would this season, because of their age, perhaps the overwork has gotten to some of them, but Affeldt never had it all season and Romo is suddenly unable to get LHH outs, can't blame overwork for a season long issues like these. And we could have core 5 or 6, with Strickland, Osich, Law, Okert, Black, Johnson, Broadway, others?

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
campanari said...

Price and Hamels might be lumped together for 2015, and over the two-month period remaining in the regular season, it's quite possible that Leake will be as good for the Giants as either of them. As I said earlier, his road numbers--that is, his record in a good number of parks other than GAB--have been comparable to theirs. His road BABIP isn't sustainable, but it can go up to sustainable levels without his being worse for us than either of the costlier two, over the regular season, that is. I don't regret our getting him rather than Price. I do regret our having Leake instead of Hamels, because Hamels wasn't a rental, and so can't be lumped with Price in the longer term.

Of course regrets one way or another are irrelevant to what actually happens over the next months.

nomisnala said...

If we will be able to sign Leake for next year he will be our new
L starter in the rotation to replace Lincecum. One part of our core
four in the bullpen, Javy Lopez, seems to be holding up his part of
the core. When it comes to trading minor league potential starters,
we must not forget Tim Alderson. Leake gives up more hits than
innings pitched, and it is not as if the Cincy infield is shabby.
He should fare better in SF though. One of the Dodger announcers
said that the giants rotation isn't getting any younger, but
Bummy, Heston, Leake, Cain, Peavy now puts Peavy as the old man
at 34, followed by Cain at 30, and the others are 27 or less.
Seems that Vogey at 37, and Hudson at 40 have been replaced by
younger men. At the moment I am not sure if Cain is better than
Vogelsong, but I expect in the long run he will be. Vogey may still
have a career in the bullpen.

Anonymous said...

Leake hasn't given up more hits than he has pitched innings in 2015, and he has a WHIP of 1.15.'