Re: Reds nearing deal with Leake
The trap that small market teams can fall into is one of bringing up talent too soon. The affordable years are wasted as the player adapts to the major leagues and contributes only marginally. By the time the player is ready to make a valuable contribution, he is moving into his arb eligible and free agency. If his team then knows it can't afford to keep him, he is traded for prospects and the merry-go-round continues. The small market team becomes a de facto farm team for the wealthier franchises. I think the Pirates are dangerously close to stepping onto this treadmill.
That said, I don't think we will see Leake until at least 2011. The Reds won't bring him up until they feel sure he can be a productive member of the rotation.