With Major League Baseball slated to push forward with the 2020 season despite failing to reach a deal with players, a number of MLB stars are likely to skip it. While few of the big names have been linked to skipping it yet, the first player has been revealed.
According to ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake is the first known major player to opt out of the 2020 season. Leake won the 2019 Gold Glove Award after going 12-11 split between stints with the Diamondbacks and the Seattle Mariners.
Passan obtained a statement from Leake's agent, who cited the risks of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as a big reason for wanting to sit the year out. He wished his team luck and is looking forward to the 2021 season instead.
"During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had many discussions about playing this season," Leake's agent said. "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 Diamondback teammates this season and he's looking forward to 2021."
Leake was slated to make $15 million in 2020 and will be a free agent at season's end. Passan reported that he was scheduled to fight for a spot on the back of Arizona's rotation
While Leake may not be the most high-profile player to skip the 2020 MLB season, he probably won't be the last.
Players are reportedly upset that Major League Baseball is pushing forward on the season without an agreement.
There are a few weeks before the "season" starts. We'll see if anyone else opts out before then.