Mike Rizzo has confirmed that he has extended an offer to Mike Leake who is perhaps the highest rated starter remaining next to his ex-Reds teammate Johnny Cueto. Leake just turned 28 years old a month ago, and slots as a #3 starter on the Nats and never met the expectations of his high prospect status as the #8 overall pick in the 2009 draft because he wasn’t consistently effective pitching in the pitcher un-friendly Great American “Small Park” in Cincinnati. Last year Leake had a 0.00 WAR and finished with a 3.70 ERA on the season, but has a career road ERA of 3.48 and was even better in 2015 at 2.91.
Rizzo has dealt with Leake’s agent Dan Horwits before on Kurt Suzuki and other players. Horwits is a partner with the sports agency Beverly Hills Sports Council.
We detailed the background of Leake’s history with Stephen Strasburg and then there’s the bizarre case of the alleged 2011 shoplifting 6 American Rag t-shirts from Macy’s, and while the odd and twisted story would be really bizarre if they were Stephen Strasburg t-shirts, we can’t confirm what pattern was on the t-shirts. One of the best Leake stories was the Jonathan Broxton mohawk he gave him, and all indications were that Leake was a good teammate.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo always likes negotiating under the cloak of secrecy, and so far we have acknowledgement that Rizzo has made offers for Darren O’Day, Ben Zobrist and now Mike Leake.
Depending on who you listen to, Rizzo says Nats interest in starters is tepid while Jon Heyman says serious.
Mike Rizzo said Nats have an offer to Mike Leake, but added they do for other players, too. Insisted team's interest in starters is tepid.
— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) December 9, 2015
nats talk with mike leake is serious. cards, giants have been in mix. but heating up with washington now.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 9, 2015
What we’ve been told is that Rizzo could sign a pitcher then trade one of his starters to fill other needs. With Rizzo, that could put any of the starters available except for Scherzer. Rizzo won’t trade from desperation as he could always put Joe Ross in AAA for extra depth as an alternative.
Scott Boras addressed the media and said this on Harper,
“Bryce is going to be [in Washington] 3 more years and is very happy there. We’ll just go forward and see. He’s a generational player. Let’s see what the Nats want to do.”