Baseball’s progressing toward opening in late July, but the first player has opted out of that plan.
Per multiple reports, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake has chosen to not play this year.
Via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen announced the news, but not the reasons Monday, saying: “I think those conversations are personal in nature.”
Leake’s a perfectly average pitcher (career record 105-98), who was scheduled to make $5 million during the prorated portion of this year, in the final year of his contract. As a starting pitcher, that would be 12 appearances over the course of a 60-game season.
Arizona is among the nation’s hotspots for COVID-19.
Between the money and the love of competition, there’s an assumption that most professional athletes will want to play. But Leake’s the first baseball player to pass on the season. It’s slightly more common in the NBA, where a handful of players including Avery Bradley of the Lakers (family illness considerations) and Davis Bertans of the Wizards (pending free agent next offseason) have chosen not to accompany their teams to Orlando for a sequestered restart.