OAKLAND, Calif. -- With each solid start, Mike Leake moves closer to becoming the next Mariners' veteran player to be traded in the 2019 season.
The Mariners tried to move Leake in the offseason, talked trade with the Diamondbacks a few weeks ago and will continue to shop him to teams as a reliable innings-eater until the July 31 trade deadline.
Will it happen? It largely depends on how much of Leake's remaining contract the Mariners are willing to eat in the process. Also contingent is whether Leake will waive his full no-trade clause, which is contingent to his perception of the possible future situation.
Leake pitched seven innings on Sunday, allowing three runs on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts, and the Mariners gave him some late run support with a four-run eighth inning to rally for a 6-3 victory over the A's.
"Mike has really been on point the last four times out," manager Scott Servais said. "It's been really fun to watch him pitch. No walks today. Commanding his stuff. He allowed a couple long balls, but he just keeps doing what Mike Leake does -- grinding and keeping us in the ballgame."
It clinched a series win in the three-game set in Oakland and gave Seattle it second series win of the three-city road trip. The Mariners took the opening three-game series vs. the Angels, dropped the series in Minnesota and finished 5-4 on the trip.
"We've moved on from a few veteran players," Servais said. "The team is starting to realize that this is our team going forward. Coming out here and having a winning road trip is a good sign. We got back home and hopefully we can keep the momentum going there. It's nice to see this team come together. As things settle down with our roster, hopefully we play a little better together."
It might be a wishful hope for roster stability given the Mariners overall organizational plans. General manager Jerry Dipoto is known to jump the trade market before the MLB trade deadline.
For Leake, it was his fourth straight outing of seven-plus innings. He's thrown a total of 30 innings in that stretch, allowing eight earned runs (2.40 ERA) on 23 hits with two walks and 20 strikeouts and notched three wins. Of his 15 starts this season, Leake has pitched at least six full innings in 12 of them. They aren't dominant numbers, but effective.
"There's some pitches I've adjusted and pitch-ability I've adjusted and how I'm watching hitters," he said. "I've been fortunate to be in this game long enough to learn those things."