Mariners acquire right-handed starting pitcher Mike Leake from the Cardinals

Mariners also pick up some cash toward Leake’s contract, international slot money while giving up minor leaguer Rayder Ascanio.

BALTIMORE — With the Mariners’ starting rotation in disarray, struggling to give quality outings as the team heads into the final month of the season, and the prospects for improvement next year not being much better, general manager Jerry Dipoto added a veteran starter to push for the American League wild card and be a part of the rotation moving forward for at least the next three years.

On Wednesday morning, the Mariners acquired right-hander Mike Leake from the St. Louis Cardinals for cash, international bonus pool money and minor league infielder Rayder Ascanio. It’s a deal that was a week in the making.

“This is as much about the next three, potentially four, years as the next four or five weeks,” Dipoto said. “But obviously we feel like Mike helps us walking in the door for 2017. The chance to acquire a guy that’s going to pitch his 30-year old season next year and get some controllable pitching with a history of durability like Mike has, for us that was huge concern going into the offseason and something we were able to address in August. Not only were we able to help our short term outlook, but I believe we helped addressed some of our longer term needs.”

Because he was acquired before Sept. 1, Leake would be eligible to pitch in the postseason if the Mariners were to somehow make it. Leake is scheduled to report to the Mariners on Friday and they are loosely planning for him to start this weekend vs. the A’s. Leake had been scheduled to start on Friday for St. Louis. With an off day on Thursday, the Mariners could reshuffle their rotation to fit when Leake feels most comfortable to start. It seems likely he will take the spot of his former Cardinals teammate Marco Gonzales.

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“He’s got a track record of pitching innings and I’m excited to have him,” manager Scott Servais said. “As soon I was able to let the guys know this morning, their reaction was very, very positive. They know what we are up against. Anybody that can come in and get a little bit deeper in games and does have experience is really big.”

Leake has made 30 or more starts in a season six times and has averaged 200 innings pitched per season in his career. After debuting in 2010, Leake has made 228 starts — the second…

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