Mike Leake chooses to exit the 2020 season

Rightbader Diamondbacks Mike Leake He plans to opt out of the 2020 season, reports Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (via Twitter). Leake becomes the first known player to choose not to play amid public health concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, although others will surely follow suit.

D-back general manager Mike Hazen has confirmed the decision, tweets Zach Buchanan of The Athletic. The details surrounding Leake’s decision are not known, nor do they need to be shared. As Hazen went on to tell reporters, “I think those conversations are personal in nature” (Twitter link via Nick Piecoro of the Republic of Arizona). Leake’s agent Danny Horwits offered the following statement (via ESPN’s Jeff 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.

Leake, 32, was in the final season of a five-year, $ 80 million contract originally signed with the Cardinals, although he has since been traded to Seattle and then Arizona. He would have earned a prorated salary of $ 16MM this season, around $ 5.5MM, and had a purchase of $ 5MM in an option for the 2021 season. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted that Leake will not be paid in 2020, suggesting that Your decision is not due to concerns about your own health, but because of the health of close family and loved ones. According to the agreement reached between the league and the union last week, only players who are considered high risk are entitled to receive salary and service time after choosing not to participate.

Under the terms of Leake’s previous trades, the Cardinals paid $ 4MM to the Mariners this season to cover a portion of Leake’s salary. Meanwhile, the Mariners were on the hook for the sum of $ 9MM from Leake’s salary, which was to be paid to the D-backs in deferred installments. Those payments will now presumably be forgiven. As for the $ 5MM purchase on Leake’s 2021 option, that doesn’t belong in the 2020 season, and therefore should still remain on the table. The Mariners are also responsible for that sum under the terms of last summer’s exchange.

With Leake suddenly and unexpectedly out of the rotation in Arizona, the D-backs will likely depend on the quartet of Madison Bumgarner, Ray Robbie, Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver to lead the rotation. Merrill kelly It could be in line to retake fifth place, although it will face some competition from younger arms like Alex Young, Jon Duplantier and if it is healthy Corbin Martin. Arizona will also have a place on the 40-man open roster with Leake no longer occupying a place.