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Mike Leake likely to sign soon as Cardinals emerge as strong contenders

The right-hander's decision may be imminent, according to sources.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The Cardinals and Leake completed a 5-year, $80 million deal on Tuesday, as first reported by MLB Daily Dish.

ORIGINAL: There is growing speculation in the industry that free-agent right-hander Mike Leake is likely to sign in the next couple of days and the Cardinals have emerged as a strong contender to sign him, according to multiple industry sources. Leake is said to be looking for a 5-year deal, though it is unconfirmed at this time that he will receive one.

Requests for comment from both the Cardinals and Leake's agency, Beverly Hills Sports Council, went unanswered on Monday night.

Leake has drawn interest from many teams, including the Diamondbacks, Giants, Astros and Nationals. The 28-year old was said to be making progress on deals with both Arizona and Washington at different points throughout his free agency, but has been in talks with multiple teams.

Leake's market has been largely affected by top free-agent starters David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann, who have all signed new contracts this month. Teams looking for pitching at this point have many options on the table, including Leake, Yovani Gallardo, Wei-Yin Chen and Scott Kazmir.

Leake has spent six years in the majors with the Reds (2010-2014) and Giants (2015), posting a lifetime 64-52 record and 3.88 ERA in that span. He was 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA with both Cincinnati and San Francisco last season.