D-backs RHP Leake elects not to play in 2020

June 29th, 2020

PHOENIX -- D-backs right-hander has elected not to play in the upcoming 60-game season.

 “I got a phone call from Mike Leake the other day and he has informed us that that is what he is going to do,” D-backs GM Mike Hazen said.

 Leake’s agent, Danny Horwits, issued the following statement:

“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 Diamondbacks teammates this season and he’s looking forward to 2021.” 

Leake, who was acquired by the D-backs from the Mariners prior to last year’s Trade Deadline, has a mutual contract option for 2021 for $18 million with a $5 million buyout.

Players who are deemed in a high-risk category are able to opt out of playing and still be paid. Leake is not considered to be within that category and thus will not receive his salary or service time for the 2020 season.

Leake had been expected to be a part of the D-backs' starting rotation. His absence leaves the rotation with Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver and Zac Gallen as locks for spots.

The leading contenders to fill Leake’s spot are Merrill Kelly, Alex Young and Jon Duplantier.

“Definitely impacts us,” Hazen said. “Certainly we’re losing a good Major League starting pitcher. To what extent it’s going to impact us, it’s hard to say. I think I would have probably a different answer if it was over 162 [games] as opposed to over 60.”