Baseball’s Mike Leake opts out of 2020 season

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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.

5 responses to “Baseball’s Mike Leake opts out of 2020 season

  1. He’s earned > $94 million, I think I’d do the same in his situation.

  2. Smart lad to walk away. The 2020 MLB season will be the next travesty to follow the Astros’ cheating their way to the top.

  3. Leake’s been a mostly solid pitcher throughout his career, but he is not a superstar. For most fans, at least the casual fan, his absence will be noted as a side thought if they choose to watch, but it remains to be seen how the superstar players will be affected (if at all). The players who earn significant money through endorsement deals likely will weigh their options differently than a player like Leake who has had a good career with significant earnings attached to that. The gap between the fringe players and superstars, with players a lot like Leake, will probably see more opt-outs than the bottom of the roster guys or the endorsement magnets will. I would be willing to bet that a good many of those lower tier guys are seeing this as a significant opportunity to make a name for themselves in the absence of other players.

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