Free-agent pitcher Mike Leake and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to an $80 million, five-year contract, a move the Cardinals hope boosts their chances to win a fourth straight NL Central title.

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Cardinals, pitcher Leake agree on 5-year, $80 million contract

Pitcher Mike Leake and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to an $80 million, five-year contract Tuesday, a move the team hopes boosts its chances to win a fourth straight NL Central title.

“When we make decisions, it is about performance,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “We heard nothing but positives.”

Leake, whose deal has a full no-trade provision, described the Cardinals as a “dynasty.” Before last season, St. Louis had been to the NL Championship Series or deeper in four consecutive years.

A 28-year-old right-hander, Leake is 64-52 with a 3.88 earned-run average in six major-league seasons. He was 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA for Cincinnati and San Francisco last season, totaling 30 starts and 190 innings.

Leake ranks fifth in innings pitched in the National League during his six seasons. He has made 30 or more starts in each of the last four years.

Source: De Aza to play for Mets

Outfielder Alejandro De Aza and the New York Mets have agreed on a $5.75 million, one-year contract, pending a physical, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The deal reportedly contains an additional $1.25 million in performance bonuses.

De Aza, 31, bats left-handed and could platoon in center field with right-handed-hitting Juan Lagares. De Aza batted .262 this year with seven homers — all off right-handers — and drove in 35 runs in 365 plate appearances for Baltimore, Boston and San Francisco.

New York has been seeking an outfielder in place of Yoenis Cespedes, who became a free agent after helping the Mets reach the World Series for the first time since 2000.

Fox makes Smoltz its lead analyst

Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz has been promoted to Fox’s lead analyst and will work alongside TV play-by-play man Joe Buck, displacing Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci.

Network spokesman Dan Bell said Fox was discussing different roles with Reynolds, a former Mariner who also works for MLB Network, and Verducci, who also works for MLB Network and Sports Illustrated.

Smoltz, 48, was a Fox analyst during the last two seasons.


MLS Galaxy transfers defender Gonzalez to Pachuca of Mexico

Defender Omar Gonzalez, 27, has been transferred from the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer to Mexico team Pachuca.

The 6-foot-5 center back was viewed as a possible future standout for the U.S. national team when he made his international debut in 2009, but his career has stalled since January 2012, when he tore a knee ligament in a collision with fellow American Timmy Chandler. The injury occurred during Gonzalez’s first training session with Germany’s Nuremberg, where he had been loaned.

Gonzalez reinjured the knee in May 2014. He has 30 international appearances but has fallen behind Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Matt Besler and Michael Orozco on U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s depth chart.

An American-born son of Mexican parents, Gonzalez has dual citizenship. He helped the Galaxy win three MLS Cup titles, is a four-time selection for the league’s MLS Best XI and was voted MLS 2011 Defender of the Year.

• National-team captain Michael Bradley, a 28-year-old midfielder, has won the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Male Player of the Year award.

Bradley received 43 percent of votes. Fabian Johnson was second with 33 percent. Clint Dempsey of the Sounders was third with 20 percent.

• FIFA officials told UEFA President Michel Platini he cannot bypass its appeals process by challenging his eight-year ban directly at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Platini, 60, was hoping to cut out the required FIFA appeals procedure as he races to try to overturn his ban before the Feb. 26 presidential election.


• Norwegian skier Henrik Kristoffersen won by a massive 1.25 seconds in a World Cup night slalom in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, that included a drone crashing near four-time defending overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria. The drone, which was carrying a TV camera for the broadcast crew, crashed to the snow just behind Hirscher during his second run.

“This is horrible,” said Hirscher, who finished second. “This can never happen again. This can be a serious injury.”

• The director of IAAF President Sebastian Coe’s office temporarily stepped down, pending an ethics investigation into emails linked to Russian doping cases.

Emails sent by Nick Davies that were leaked to a French newspaper indicated he tried to delay public identification of alleged Russian drug cheats before the 2013 track-and-field world championships in Moscow. Davies was IAAF communications director at the time under Lamine Diack, who was succeeded by Coe as president in August.

• Japan chose a scaled-down design for the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, five months after scrapping the initial design and construction plan for being too costly.

The new design, by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, will cost $1.26 billion to design, build and maintain. The initial stadium proposal would have cost $2.1 billion.

• American Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic of Serbia have been named ITF World Champions for 2015, after both players won three Grand Slam singles tennis tournaments this year.