Cardinals trade right-hander Mike Leake to the Mariners

The Mariners acquired right-hander Mike Leake from the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday for minor league infielder Rayder Ascanio as Seattle tries to bolster its beleaguered starting rotation during the AL wild-card race.

Seattle is without James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Hisahi Iwakuma due to injuries and has struggled to get five innings out of their starters for most of the past month. Seattle has had just 16 starts of at least six innings in 43 games since the All-Star break.

St. Louis will send Seattle $17.5 million to cover a portion of the $55.6 million Leake is guaranteed during the remainder of an $80 million, five-year contract through 2020. The Mariners also acquired $750,000 in international signing bonus allotment as part of the deal.

“This is as much about the next three, potentially four years as it’s about this next four or five weeks,” Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “Obviously, we feel like Mike helps us walking in the door for 2017. But the chance to acquire a guy that is going to be pitching his 30-year-old season next year and get some controllable pitching in the door with a history of durability like Mike has for us was a huge concern going into the offseason and something we were able to address in August.”

Seattle started the day on a four-game losing streak and has fallen three games behind Minnesota in the chase for the second wild card spot. The deal could be a major boost for a club that had just seven home games in August and has been on the road since Aug. 17.

“As soon as it was OK to let the guys know this morning, I think the reaction was very, very positive,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “They kind of know what we’re up against. And anybody that can come in and get a little bit deeper in the ballgame for us but does have experience is really, really big.”

Leake has been one of the most durable starters in the National League but has not been at his best since the…

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