The St. Louis Cardinals have signed Mike Leake to a free agent deal and the team could be considering other moves, including a trade with Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon or Corey Dickerson. The team has been connected to outfielders like Alex Gordon and Justin Upton on the free agent market, but after signing Leake, the Cards may be more interested in making a trade.
The Cardinals and Leake agreed to a deal on Tuesday and according to ESPN, the contract is worth $80 million and has a full no-trade clause. Leake went 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA last season while playing with the Reds and Giants and now joins a rotation with Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha. The Cardinals now may focus on the outfield after the Chicago Cubs signed away Jason Heyward and players like Alex Gordon and Justin Upton could be free agent options.
The Cardinals may also be eyeing some trades to help upgrade in the outfield, as Jon Morosi at Fox Sports reports that the team has "engaged in trade dialogue with the Rockies" about the position. Morosi reports that players like Carlos Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon are available in deals. Gonzalez is the biggest name of the three, but the Cardinals could have interest in either Blackmon or Dickerson if they feel the price for Gonzalez is too high.
Gonzalez is coming off of a strong season after hitting 40 home runs and he could help replace Heyward in the outfield. Morosi writes that Blackmon could be a "favorite target" for the Cardinals, as he can hit leadoff, has speed on the basepaths and also plays strong defense. Blackmon put up solid numbers with .287 with 17 home runs, 31 doubles and 43 stolen bases last season.
Gordon is also a potential option on the free agent market, as Jon Heyman at CBS Sports reports that the Royals have "no chance" to keep the outfielder. The team reportedly has not offered enough to retain Gordon and it's likely that he will be signing with another team. The Orioles, Cardinals, Angels and Giants have all been mentioned as potential landing spots, according to Heyman.
Leake was a solid option for the Cardinals and according to Fox Sports one reason the team felt comfortable bringing the pitcher in is the fact that they will not lose their first round draft pick. Leake will not cost a pick since he was traded during the season and now that Heyward and John Lackey have signed with another team, the Cardinals will gain draft picks. The addition of Leake helps with the loss of Lackey, who signed with the Cubs along with Heyward.