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Giants trade for Mike Leake: What deadline deal means for San Francisco moving forward

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In a very Giants-esque deadline move, the reigning champs have traded for starting pitcher Mike Leake of the Reds to shore up their rotation, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:

Per Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, San Francisco will send out power-hitting third baseman Adam Duvall (Triple-A Sacramento) and young right-hander Keury Mella (High-A San Jose) in return.

Breaking down the trade

Leake, a 27-year-old right-hander, has had a solid career for Cincinnati since his 2010 call-up, amassing a career 62-47 record with a 3.87 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. His numbers this season are markedly better, and he’s been particularly effective over the past month (4-1, 1.25 ERA, .83 WHIP).

The Fallbrook, Calif. native first drew interest from the Giants back in June, and it’s no surprise the team moved on him after they fell short in the David Price and Cole Hamels sweepstakes. While Leake is a great addition for the ball club, he didn’t come cheap.

Mella, a flamethrowing right-hander out of the Dominican Republic, was a consensus top-five prospect in the Giants’ system coming into the season, and recently jumped to the organization’s No. 1 spot on MLB.com. The 21-year-old is still early in his development, but is quickly adding to his arsenal and has the physical tools to succeed at the next level.

Duvall has been tearing it up with the Rivercats this year (.279 AVG, 26 HR, 80 RBI) and will likely see some action with the Reds this season. His defense is suspect no matter where he’s playing—first, third, and especially in the outfield—but his offensive game is MLB ready, without question.

What it means for the team

With Leake coming over, the odd man out in the Giants rotation is Tim Hudson (6-8, 4.80 ERA). Despite getting almost a month off between June and July, the veteran hasn’t been able to rediscover the dominant form he flashed in the first half of last season. After getting knocked around in his last two outings, it certainly looks as though Hudson’s impending retirement will be coming a few months early.

While Huddy is essentially out of options, Leake’s presence could be effective in lighting a fire under Matt Cain and Jake Peavy, who are now one notch lower in the pecking order (if you’re going purely off 2015 production). Both are no longer guaranteed to be in the Giants’ playoff rotation, and if either hits a rough patch, Ryan Vogelsong will be waiting in the wings.

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While the rotation is probably set, don’t be surprised to see San Francisco bring on another impact player for the stretch drive. The team still has several coveted prospects (read: Andrew Susac, Tyler Beede, Kyle Crick) to dangle, and there are still a number of big names on the market. The bench, bullpen and outfield could all stand to improve, and a certain former Giant might become available off waivers.

Again, Leake is a great arm to have down the stretch, but this trade might just be the beginning if San Francisco is serious about a repeat.

Next: Other top trade deadline targets

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