Source: @Dbacks pretty close to signing Mike Leake. As another exec told me, you can't sign Greinke and stop there. If you're in, you're IN.— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) December 9, 2015
Leake isn't exactly an ace - six years into his major-league career, he has an ERA+ of 101, though was a little better than that last year between the Reds and Giants, posting a 106 ERA. However, he is one of the younger free-agent options out there, having just turned 28 last month,. and he has averaged over 180 innings per season since coming into the major-leagues, and close to 200 over the past three. That degree of reliability is not necessarily a bad thing. Though, on the other hand, nor is it necessarily a guarantee, as we all saw with "proven innings-eater" Bronson Arroyo. Leake is also a career .212 hitter, so knows his way around the batter's box.
The pitcher is an ASU graduate, and still lives in the Phoenix area; per Ken Rosenthal
#DBacks hold advantage on Leake if they can find room in their budget. Lives in Phoenix area, wants to stay at home, sources say.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2015
It will be interesting to see whether that leads to any kind of hometown discount for the team in negotiations. This would suggest a rotation of Greinke, Leake, Corbin, Ray and one other - my guess might be Aaron Blair (though perhaps more likely after late April for service time considerations!), with Rubby De La Rosa moving to the bullpen.
Yeah, after the trade for Shelby Miller, you can now cross this one off the list.