Diamondbacks’ Mike Leake chooses not to play the 2020 season

Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake is choosing not to participate in the 2020 season, his agent said in a statement Monday, becoming the first known MLB player to choose not to participate.

Leake, 32, was planning to earn $ 16 million for a full season in 2020 and was in a position to fight for a place in the back of the rotation. He will be a free agent next season.

“This was not an easy decision for Mike,” Leake’s agent Danny Horwits said in the statement. “He wishes the best of luck and health to his Diamondback teammates this season and is looking forward to 2021.”

The specific reasons for Leake’s opt-out were unclear. Horwits said Leake and her family had a lot of discussions about playing, taking “countless” factors into account. Horwits said many of the considerations were personal to Leake and her family.

Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen also said two players on Arizona’s 60-player roster tested positive for COVID-19, as did another player who was not in Arizona.

Leake was included in the Diamondbacks’ group of 60 players released on Monday, but will be transferred in a later transaction.

“It definitely impacts us,” said Hazen. “He’s certainly a good starting major league pitcher. To what extent he’s going to impact us, it’s hard to say. I think he probably would have a different answer if he was over 162 [games] unlike if I was over 60 years old. ”

The Diamondbacks also will not have two international prospects due to travel problems during the pandemic: outfielder Kristian Robinson of the Bahamas and Brazilian right-hander Bo Takahashi.

Right-hander Silvino Bracho was not on Arizona’s 60-man list to start the season after suffering a stiff elbow while trying to rehabilitate from Tommy John surgery last year.

Leake, a 10-year veteran who had stints with the Reds, Giants, Cardinals and Mariners, was acquired by the D-backs on the Seattle trade deadline. He started 22 games for the Mariners in 2019, with a 9-8 record, two complete games and a 4.27 ERA. He was 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 10 games for Arizona.

He led all major league pitchers in home runs allowed last season with 41. He has a lifetime record of 105-98 and a 4.05 ERA.

Associated Press contributed to this report.