Diamondbacks Pitcher Mike Leake Becomes First MLB Player To Opt Out Of 2020 Season
Mike Leake
Rob Schumacher/The Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK

After a few months off due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Major League Baseball is finally set to return for the start of the 2020 season.

Players and staff members are set to report to their team’s home city for the second version of Spring Training starting July 1, with Opening Day expected to be a few weeks later on July 23 for some clubs.

While baseball is returning and there is a ton of excitement surrounding that, it is still important to remember that there is a pandemic going on and it’s not exactly safe for MLB teams to be traveling across the country right now.

Because of the risk that is involved, MLB is allowing players to opt out of the season if they choose with no penalty other than sacrificing their 2020 salary. It appears Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake is the first player to do so due to health concerns surrounding his family, via Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

The decision couldn’t have been an easy one for Leake and his family, and more players are likely to follow suit in the coming days, as has been the case in the NBA.

Leake is a 10-year MLB veteran heading into what would have been his second season with the Diamondbacks. He went 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA, 5.19 FIP and 1.29 WHIP with 127 strikeouts and 27 walks in 197 innings across 32 starts with the Seattle Mariners and Diamondbacks in 2019.

Leake would have been competing for a spot in Arizona’s rotation this season, although they now will have to find a replacement since he is sitting out the final year of his contract before hitting free agency.

Shortly after news of Leake deciding to sit out, it was reported Washington Nationals teammates Joe Ross and Ryan Zimmerman have elected to do the same.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram! It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!