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Miami Marlins 'like' Mike Leake

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Leake is a free agent and could help the Marlins' rotation in the future.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leake could join the Marlins' pitching staff in 2016. Leake is a free agent and the Marlins "like" the former Giant but fear "the bidding might get too high," according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Free agency started Saturday but the Marlins are not expected to be notably active immediately. As the club prepares for the General Managers meetings this week Boca Raton, pitching appears to be the target. As the Winter Meetings approach, the organization has publicly expressed a desire to upgrade the starting rotation. Leake could be among the most realistic free agent options.

Since the Marlins do not have a notable amount of minor league depth, trading for additional starting pitching might not be realistic. Marcell Ozuna could be moved for a front of the rotation arm, however there remains a chance the organization decides to retain Ozuna. If they move him, an additional outfielder would have to be signed or acquired this off-season.

Leake, 27, had a notable amount of success with the Reds and Giants in 2015. Over 192.0 innings, Leake pitched to a 3.70 ERA and 4.20 FIP while striking out an average of 5.58 batters per nine innings. He has tossed at least 160 innings in each of the last five seasons and could complement Jose Fernandez well.

While big names such as David Price and Johnny Cueto highlight the free agent market for starting pitchers, Leake might also be placed in the same category. Once some of the bigger name players are signed, Leake could appeal to every club hoping to add starting pitching. The Marlins will likely be interested, but he might get too expensive.

Leake made $9.8 million in 2015, and he will likely demand more from whichever team he opts to sign with. The Marlins might benefit from pursuing a Yovani Gallardo-type pitcher, since the next tier of starters likely will not be as costly.

Miami is hoping to add starting depth, and Leake could be ideal. But realistically, he might not be affordable.