Giants swap top prospect for Mike Leake

In hopes of chasing down the division-leading Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants have found the starting pitcher they were shopping for.

The Giants headed into trading season looking for a solid No. 2 starting pitcher, and with just 15 hours left before the non-waiver deadline, they found their man in former Cincinnati Reds starter Mike Leake.

Leake made his Major League debut in 2010 before making even a single minor league appearance, mere months after he was drafted by the Reds with the eighth-overall selection in the 2009 Draft.

Through 21 starts with the Reds in 2015, Leake led the team in wins (going 9-5) and innings pitched (136-2/3), and was second on the team with a 3.56 ERA. Cincinnati’s ERA leader, Johnny Cueto (2.62), was traded July 26 to the Kansas City Royals for three top-tier prospects.

In exchange for the right-hander, the Giants sent the organization’s No. 1 minor league prospect Keury Mella (RHP) and power-hitting infielder Adam Duvall.

Mella was born in Banao, Dominican Republic, and has been in the Giants system since 2011 when he signed as an undrafted free agent at the age of 18.

His career 15-12 record with a 3.01 ERA is highlighted by his time in high-A ball. This year with the San Jose Giants, the 22-year old has gone 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA and just over one strikeout per inning.

Duvall, who had a 25-game cup of coffee on the Giants roster in 2014, has been the offensive leader for the Sacramento River Cats this year. His .279/.323/.867 slash line is supplemented by 26 home runs and 80 RBIs in 100 games, but the 26-year old’s .192 Major League average alongside three homers reflect his limited success in the big leagues.

The Giants came into late July shopping high, having been linked to all-star starters David Price, Cole Hamels and James Shields. The asking price for those bigger names proved to be too high.

With Leake, the Giants get a career 3.87 ERA and 1.275 WHIP – both better than average – but an expiring contract. The 27-year-old veteran is due to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and, given the Giants lack of interest in “rental players,” it could be expected that they have serious interest in re-signing the San Diego native.

It’s also worth noting that the Dodgers were unable to land a big fish starter, as the Toronto Blue Jays picked up Price and the Astros reeled in Hamels.

San Francisco has also been rumored to be in trade talks for an outfielder, and with names like Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes possibly available, we may see another move in play before the deadline.