Cincinnati Reds Look Back – The Mike Leake Trade

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

As the 2015 season was wearing down, the Cincinnati Reds traded Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants.

The Cincinnati Reds traded Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants on July 31st, 2015.  The Giants sent minor leaguers Adam Duvall and Keury Mella back to the Reds.  The Giants didn’t make the playoffs and the Reds ended up with 98 losses that season.

Leake went 2-5 over nine start with a 4.07 ERA to close out the season for the Giants.  His strikeout to walk ratio went down and his home run rate went up after the deal.  He also had the same number of wild pitches for the Giants in 9 starts as he did for the Reds in 21 starts that season.

Prior to 2015, Leake had a string of five seasons with at least 20 starts in each season.  In 2010 Leake began his first professional season on the Reds’ roster.  He pitched 138 1/3 innings for the Reds in his first professional season.

For the next four years Leake made at least 26 starts and pitched at least 165 innings.  To this day, every season he has allowed between 65 and 92 earned runs.  That has led to a career ERA of 3.92.

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Of course, Leake only pitched nine starts for the Giants.  Following the 2015 season Leake signed a five year, $80-million contract.  This is the second year that Leake has played for the Saint Louis Cardinals.

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The Cincinnati Reds lost a solid rotation pitcher, but they gained two pieces back in return.

The highlight when the deal was announced was starting pitching prospect Keury Mella.  Mella is a 23 year old that signed with the Giants out of the Dominican Republic.  He has been a starter his entire professional career and is currently pitching in Double-A.

The player the Reds’ fan in 2015 was Duvall.  Initially thought of as a was-upped slugging prospect, Duvall has become an above average MLB left fielder.

He hadn’t played the outfield with any regularity prior to the 2015 season.

In 2016 Duvall was the Reds’ only representative in the All-Star Game.  He made the Gold Glove finals in left field, too.  He has taken his game to another level in 2017.

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Overall, the deal worked for the Reds, but not the Giants.  Losing Mella will cost the Giants down the road, but losing Duvall ended up costing the Giants a player in a position that they needed.  Both the Reds and the Giants may rather have Leake than Duvall and Mella, but only the Reds have any of the three.