I was just reading through my Twitter feed of last night’s game (since I was asleep for most of it) and ran across this tweet:
It’s interesting that is how we’re referring to Mike Leake already. He signed what I would consider a middle-of-the road contract with the Cardinals this offseason: 5 years and $80 million. Not too hefty, but not a cheap contract. A good amount of controlled years, but not too long to be tied up in one player. That said, it was the largest contract the Cardinals have ever offered to a free-agent pitcher from outside the organization. That just goes to show how good the farm system has been for the Cards and the way that the market is trending for players as well.
But the thing about any new player is that they have to earn the trust of the fan base to an extent. Rookies usually get a little bit of leeway. They are in their first year in the majors or they have very little experience there, so they are given some time to adjust. Free agents or players that the Cardinals trade for are expected to contribute almost immediately and when they don’t, fans start becoming leery of them. They start wondering if the signing was a good one or not. I mean, this is a results-oriented business.
Leake is now 7 starts into his time as a Cardinal, and this is the first win he’s gotten. In his first 6 starts, he gave up at least 3 earned runs, while if you add in the unearned ones, the opposing teams scored either 4 or 5 runs each time he stepped on the rubber. None of those times, did the offense pick him up enough to get him the W. Last night, he could have given up 4 or 5 runs and been fine, but on any given night that might not be good enough.
After last night’s game, Leake said that his approach is to “Make good pitches. Get bad contact.” That and a defense that will make the plays behind him is all he should need to do well. I hope that maybe he figured out how to best get that to happen and we will see this Mike Leake going forward.