Diamondbacks’ Mike Leake becomes the first known MLB player to opt out of the 2020 season


Major League Baseball plans to return to play in less than four weeks. As part of the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) and League Coronavirus (COVID-19) health and safety protocols, any MLB player can decide not to participate in the 2020 60 game season. Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake is the first to publicly announce his foreclosure decision.

Leake, 32, will be a free agent after the 2020 season if Arizona rejects his $ 18 million contract option by 2021. This is the explanation for his exclusion from his agent, Danny Horwits, via Passan:

During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had a lot of discussions about playing this season. They took countless factors into account, many of which are personal to him and his family. After careful consideration, he has chosen to stop playing in 2020. This was not an easy decision for Mike. He wishes the best of luck and health to his Diamondback teammates this season and is looking forward to 2021.

He ended the 2019 season with a record of 12-11, ERA of 4.29 and 1,289 WHIP in 197 innings. Leake joined the Diamondbacks on the Seattle Mariners last July trade deadline.

Leake was included in the Diamondbacks’ initial 60-man roster for the 2020 season, and would likely be struggling to earn a place in the rotation. While Leake is the first known player to choose not to play this year, he is likely not the last given the health risks of playing during the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the MLB return-to-game plan, high-risk players, those with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised immune systems are at increased risk for serious COVID-19 disease, may choose not to participate in Season 2020 at any time, and would receive both his full salary and season service time. It is unclear if Leake falls into that category.

For the aforementioned exclusion group, the decision as to whether or not they would receive salary or length of service will depend on each individual team. High risk would include people with heart, lung, cancer, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

MLB and MLBPA have agreed on a “spring” training that begins on July 1 and a regular season that begins on July 23.