Righty Mike Leake lands 5-year, $80 million deal with Cardinals

Baseball The Cardinals finally made a move to counter the Cubs' active offseason.St. Louis has agreed to a deal with free-agent right-hander Mike Leake, Fox Sports reports. Leake's deal is for five years and will net him at least $80 million. It also includes a mutual option in the $13 million range for 2021 and comes with a full no-trade clause. MORE: What each team still needs to do this winter | Top remaining free agentsThat's a significant price for a pitcher who has been just about league-average over the course of his six years in the majors (101 ERA+), but the Cardinals understandably needed to make a splash. Already this offseason, general manager John Mozeliak has seen two top targets sign elsewhere. David Price's decision to go to the Red Sox hurt, but perhaps not as much as outfielder Jason Heyward's decision to spurn St. Louis for the rival Cubs.Add in Chicago's acquisitions of Ben Zobrist, Adam Warren and former Cardinal John Lackey and there's no question the bar has been raised in the NL Central.

The Reds and Brewers are in full rebuilding mode, but with the Pirates still very much a threat, the Cardinals couldn't afford to stand pat for too much longer.Leake, 28, will join Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and perhaps Jaime Garcia in the St. Louis rotation.TOP FREE AGENTS: 25 best | C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RPThe Reds selected Leake with the eighth overall pick in the 2009 draft and he was in the majors the following season before playing in an official minor league game (he did pitch in the Arizona Fall League). Leake was a mainstay in the Reds' rotation until being dealt to the Giants in July.He's 64-52 with a 3.88 ERA in 177 big-league appearances, all but five of them starts. He also is among the best-hitting pitchers in the game, with a .212 career average and six home runs.

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