Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake is the first major league player to opt out of the shortened 2020 season.
Leake officially opted out of the 2020 season because of his concerns with COVID-19, forfeiting more than $5 million about $5.2 million.
Leake was scheduled to earn $5.55 million as part of $15 million prorated salary over the 60-game season. He was paid only $286,000 in upfront money along with other major league players under guaranteed contracts through May 24.
“During this global pandemic, Mike had many discussions about playing this season,’’ agent Danny Horwits said in a statement. “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 Diamondbacks teammates this season and he’s looking forward to 2021.
Leake, who lives in Phoenix and attended Arizona State University, may have played his last game for the Diamondbacks. He has an $18 million club option in 2021 with aa $5 million buyout, which will be paid by the Seattle Mariners as part of their July 31, 2019 trade.
Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen said that he spoke with Leake before he made the decision public, but declined to disclose any details of the conversation.
Leake, however, does officially forfeit his salary since he was not considered a “high-risk’’ individual as part of MLB’s health and safety operating manual.
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Leake is in the final year of the five-year, $80 million deal and has a mutual option in 2021. The 10-year veteran combined to go 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA between the Mariners and Diamondbacks last season.
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