Mike Leake opting out could create ripple effect

Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake has opted to sit out 2020, which could benefit the Padres from a competitive standpoint.

Some surprising news just dropped as MLB teams are ramping back up activities ahead of Spring Training 2.0, which is set to open on Friday. Diamondbacks’ pitcher Mike Leake has decided to opt-out of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. I suspect he won’t be the last player to do so, and this could start a ripple effect for other players that were on the fence about playing.

But for the Padres, Leake’s absence could be beneficial, as he’s generally performed well against them throughout his career. In nine starts, Leake has 2.91 ERA for a below league-average 95 OPS+. as a team. Eric Hosmer and Ty France are the only two players on the Padres who have experienced some kind of success against Leake.

Hosmer has a career .500 batting average in eight at-bats, including a double. And Ty France is 2-for-3 against Leake, including a three-run bomb last September.

The NBA has experienced a similar stretch as teams prepare to resume play at the end of July, with a few notable players deciding that the risk is not greater than the reward.

Leake’s agent released the following statement on behalf of his client:

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

Part of me likes to look at this from a competitive perspective, but I absolutely understand Leake not wanting to risk his or his family’s health for a game.

Next: Immediate reaction to 52-man player pool

As part of the league’s return-to-play proposal, Leake will not be paid this year but his service time will count, which means that he’ll be a free agent at seasons’ end. Let’s see how this impacts the rest of the league.

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