PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Mike Leake informed the organization that he will opt-out of playing the 2020 shortened season. D-backs general manager Mike Hazen would not expand on the reasons Leake gave, citing the personal nature of those conversations. The right-handed pitcher is the first known Major League Baseball player to opt-out.
Leake was listed on the Diamondbacks 60-man roster that was announced Monday morning, but now the organization will make other plans.
Leake’s agent, Danny Horwits, explained his client’s decision.
“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.”
Leake was originally scheduled to make $15 million this season, the final year of his contract before hitting free agency. Whether Leake will be credited with service time and pay this year if he’s opting out for COVID-19 health concerns, Hazen didn’t want to comment without fully understanding the specifics at this time.
The former Arizona State ace joined the Diamondbacks midway through the 2019 season in a trade from Seattle. In 10 starts with the D-backs, Leake went 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA. He was slated to be a back-end rotation starter but was in doubt to be ready for the season opener prior to the pandemic due to a wrist injury in Spring Training.