It's still early in the season, but the Cardinals are likely experiencing some buyer's remorse with pitcher Mike Leake.
In six starts this year, Leake is 0-3 with a 6.03 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. He has recorded only one quality start in 2016.
St. Louis signed the 28-year-old to a five-year, $80 million deal this past offseason. It's the largest contract ever given to a player from outside the organization.
Leake spent the first six years of his career in the NL Central with Cincinnati (with the exception of nine starts for the Giants at the end of last season), so the Cardinals had plenty of familiarity with the right-hander before the signing.
"When the offseason is unfolding, different options pop up," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said when the agreement was made official. "When this did, we decided it made a lot of sense. I do think it makes the Cardinals stronger."
To be fair, Leake posted a sub-4.00 ERA in each of the past three seasons, starting 94 games during that span.
The 15-15 Cardinals are hoping that Carlos Martinez, Jaime Garcia, and Michael Wacha can continue to carry the rotation while Leake and longtime ace Adam Wainwright sort through their early season struggles. Already seven games out of first place behind the juggernaut Cubs, the clock is ticking.
Here's what else has been happening around the NL Central:
- Cubs manager Joe Maddon instituted a "zany minimalist" suit theme for their trip to Pittsburgh this week.
- Milwaukee has a lot of options at third base, none very promising.
- Former NL MVP Joey Votto said he'd rather retire than continue to struggle to perform.