If Iwakuma had thrown just 125 innings this season then he would have got $15 million next year. As it is, he will only get a $1 million buyout which means the M's will still have plenty of money to get an impact starter or first baseman.
POTD up shortly. Meantimes, here's a clean sheet for first reactions. Here are two from Gordon, the SSI fear-nothing juggernaut on MiLB-for-MLB maneuverings
Whenever you can pay a #4 guy $16 million a season I guess you have to do it, especially on this team. We'll see how much money STL is kicking in, and losing Rayder is fine.
That severely curtails next year's spending though. Leake is next year's big free agent acquisition - which just puts more pressure on Seattle's young players to pick up the slack. Fingers crossed that Moore or Marco can do that.
Sonny Gray still has 2 more years of arb eligibility, btw, and hasn't given up more than 2 ER in any game since joining the NYY. Seattle's choices are like Game of Thrones romances.
The $ that STL is sending in the Mike Leake trade turns him into about a 3-year, $36m investment for SEA. A fair price, in current market.
Dipoto wouldn't confirm money involved, but said it made Leake a reasonable priced free agent if he'd been hitting market next year.
So yeah, Leake is next year's FA who might pitch a little this year and hopefully help. For the price it's not bad. With Paxton and Felix both back for next year that means Moore, Marco, and the thousands of #6 pitchers used by Seattle this season are competing for maybe 2 spots - maybe one.
Over the last decade+ it's been fun to look at what Seattle GMs have done and wonder if the team would have been better with no GM at all - whether only having a farm director would have benefitted Seattle in the Bavasi or Zduriencik eras. I'd prefer it if Dipoto didn't add his name to that list.
EXEC SUM - Capturing the first handful of Denizen and Super-Denizen reactions to one Mike Leake NL(TM):
1) The M's essentially find their next FA starting rotation Civic, at about 3x$12M. They get him for a month of this year. They throw in an okay prospecl.
2) This means the M's glut of tweener Rainier/#5Mariner SP's will have to squeeze through a smaller bottleneck in the I-5 on ramp. If you're looking for Stars & Scrubs don't look for it here, boys.
3) Deal looks kind of funky.
4) (Cool Papa) Shed Hisashi Iwakuma and you cancel the fractions on Leake's first year.
5) (BPJ) the M's save $30M by offloading Smyly, Gallardo (and WBC-san) which pretty well pays for Leake all the way through.
6) (Jonez) I bet they find some way to keep Drew Smyly for the long term.
7) Dipoto did good because he got 3 years of a rock-solid 2-WAR starter who slots in at #4, and got back some int'l slot money. Jonez' comp: Doug Fister.
8) It's not at all easy to aqcuire a "stoploss" back-of-rotation starter who will give you 30 starts a year.
And not just that, but Gallardo is probably bought out saving several million. Smyly is likely non-tendered freeing up even more dollars.
If the M's buy out the contracts on Gallardo and Iwakuma, it would cost $3 million, but I think the M's got $2 million along with the Gallardo acquisition to pay for that $2 million.
Non-tendering Smyly frees up another $9 million they expected to be paying.
All in all they save $30 million by not paying those guys.
Really the only ones in the rotation they'll be paying big money are Felix and Leake at the moment. Not sure why they locked in a #5 making $12 million per year, but here we are.
I can see totally legit arguments for paying him next year and retaining the rights to his services for the following campaign. Or, one would hope he'd be amenable to a two year contract of some sort that gives the team a bit of a discount for that last controllable year if they stick by him. Who knows?
As for Leake, I'm taking the other side. I really--REALLY--like this trade for what it is. They gave up essentially nothing, got $750k in international signing bonus money, and received three plus years of a ~2.0 WAR starter. That's not a #5; that's a rock solid #4, average MLB SP. Better to address areas like this before the offseason sets in so that the FO can narrow focus. If he produces ~2.0 WAR then he's well worth the money, and he solidifies this team's most glaring weakness now and going forward. This season would have played out a LOT differently if Smyly hadn't come up lame before opening day...
Look at Leake's FanGraphs page. 2012-2016 saw between 176-214 IP per season, 30-33 starts, xFIP 3.49-3.91. His walk rate is in the Iwakuma range, 1.53-2.30 BB/9 over the same period...you know who his stat line looks like to me? Doug Fister. More fastballs than Doug (~70% FB+CT for Leake's career, ~60% FB for Doug's) and a few more MPH on Leake's fastball compared to Fister's, but Fister had the angle and delivery to make his look faster than it was.
You could look at this as a trade for a Doug Fister doppleganger who's under club control on a perfectly reasonable FA contract for another 3 years--and we gave up nothing of immediate consequence to acquire him. Remember: a 100 ERA+ is average, right? A 29 year old ML-average SP on a reasonable contract is essentially impossible to acquire on the FA market.
I'm not saying the move should blow the doors off the place, but isn't this a great piece of the puzzle to acquire for the next few years? His velocity *is* down a bit, and has been trending that way for a couple years, but with that kind of control it seems like a good bet that he'll produce his paycheck.
I don't think paying Smyly next season would allow is to retain him for 2019, unless we offered him a QO, which would be pretty unlikely coming off his injury. It's doubtful he will pitch much at the MLB level in 2018 from what I've seen.
As for Leake, I much prefer your outlook for him than mine. I'm not confident he's a 2 WAR pitcher for 3 more seasons unfortunately. He may be an improvement in 2018, which is what really matters anyways, but by 2020 he actually could be Gallardo.. Silva, Batista and Washbums contracts always have me leery of these low-level guys we have to pay.