After another strong season, the St. Louis Cardinals are continuing to improve. On Tuesday, they came to terms with free agent pitcher Mike Leake. He will join a rotation that already boasts Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez and lefty Jaime Garcia.

Leake, who spent his entire pro career with the Reds until last summer, was traded to the San Francisco Giants at the the trade deadline. He returned to the Midwest looking for stability. “I was looking for some place to call home,” Leake said in his introductory press conference. “They were willing to work with us and we were willing to work with them.”

His five-year contract is worth $80 million. It also includes a no-trade clause and a mutual option.

In an offseason in which pitchers are receiving massive deals Leake represents a more moderate option. While his past performances haven’t been mind-blowing–he’s never won more than 14 games in a year and was only 11-10 last year with a 3.70 ERA–he didn’t cost anywhere near the amount that someone like David Price would have.

“When we make decisions, it is about performance,” St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said. “We heard nothing but positives.”


Photo: Reds pitcher Mike Leake by dbking, via Wikimedia Commons

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