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Mike Leake opts out of 2020 season

Pitcher Mike Leake is the first MLB player to officially opt out of playing in 2020

St Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake has officially announced that he will be exercising his right to opt out of playing in 2020. The 32 year old righthander is 5th year of a 5 year, $80 million deal, and will be forfeiting around $5.5 million — the pro-rated portion of the $15 million he was scheduled to make this year, pre-pandemic.

Leake was the #8 overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, and was in the majors by the 2010 season. He has spent most of his career as a reliable if unspectacular starter, though he has bounced around the last half-decade — the Reds traded him to the San Fracnisco Giants at the trade deadline in 2015, and after that season, he joined the St. Louis Cardinals as a free agent on his current deal. Disappointing results in St. Louis saw him shipped to the Seattle Mariners, along with cash, in a salary dump in August, 2017, and he was then moved to the Diamondbacks at the trade deadline in 2019.

His agent released a statement saying that the decision was made with his family, taking “countless factors into consideration.” I cannot blame or begrudge a player for choosing not to play this year, and I suspect we will see some more, similar announcements in the next few days.