Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake is opting out of the shortened 2020 MLB season, becoming the first known player to do so.
Leake’s agent, Danny Horwits, confirmed the news in a statement to The Athletic on Monday afternoon, reading:
“During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had many discussions about playing this season. They took countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him and his family. After thorough consideration, he has chosen to opt out of playing in 2020. This was not an easy decision for Mike. He wishes the best of luck and health for his Diamondback teammates this season and he’s looking forward to 2021.”
D-backs general manager Mike Hazen declined to elaborate on the reason for Leake’s decision, telling the Arizona Republic “those conversations are personal in nature.”
Not long afterward, the Washington Nationals announced that first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and right-hander Joe Ross also would opt out of the season.
Leake, 32, was scheduled to make $5.6 million in prorated salary for the 60-game season, the structure of which was set by the owners last week after negotiations with the players’ union failed to produce a mutual conclusion.
Players are set to begin workouts Wednesday — with most teams expected to train at their home ballparks — and the season will begin July 23 or 24.
The Diamondbacks acquired Leake and cash from the Seattle Mariners for infield prospect Jose Caballero in a trade last July. Leake went 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 60 innings across 10 starts for Arizona.
He previously spent time with the Cincinnati Reds (2010-15), San Francisco Giants (2015) and St. Louis Cardinals (2016-17) before joining the Mariners via trade in August 2017. In 10 seasons, Leake is 105-98 with a 4.05 ERA in 301 appearances (296 starts).
Leake was diagnosed with a broken left wrist in February but hoped to be ready for the regular season in late March, before it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)