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Giants rumors: 'Strong possibility' Mike Leake returns to San Francisco

The Giants right-hander will hit the free agent market this winter.

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leake was brought in by the San Francisco Giants to help stablize their rotation, and push towards the postseason. While the playoff dreams didn't pan out for the defending champions, it seems that Leake would be interested in continuing his career with the Giants, according to Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area.  The 27-year-old will be hitting the free agent market this winter and he has said that there is a 'strong possibility' that he could return to the Bay Area next season.

Leake and the Giants haven’t had any significant talks since a late July trade that brought him over from Cincinnati, but he remains at or near the top of the offseason wish list. Larry Baer wasn’t in the clubhouse negotiating with Leake as he did with Hunter Pence late in the 2013 season, but it didn’t sound like Leake would be averse to such a tactic.

"It’s a strong possibility that this is a place I’d like to play," Leake said. "It’s kind of wait-and-see. You never know what’s going to happen."

In 136.2 innings with the Reds, Leake had a 9-5 record with a 3.56 ERA in 21 starts. With the Giants his numbers have fallen a bit, as he has a 2-5 record and a 4.07 ERA in nine starts. However he finished strong with his first career shutout Wednesday night. Injuries plagued Leake's stint with the Giants, with both a hamstring and his forearm giving him trouble.

Over the past three seasons, Leake has averaged 31 starts and 200 innings; a sign of durability that teams will undoubtedly covet. In 2015, the Giants relied on nine different starters, and only two of them threw more than 120 innings (Chris Heston, 174, and Madison Bumgarner, 218.1.)

Leake's durability, coupled with his groundball rate and success in Great American Ballpark should mean the right hander is going to be a popular target for most teams this winter. It seems that the Giants will have a good chance at retaining Leake, especially considering his desire to sign a deal quickly; however they'll still need to make a competitive offer for the right hander.