Written by The Dominator
The MLB season is slated to start on July 24th with the teams playing 60 games in 66 days. The season will be played among a pandemic and while MLB has taken every precaution to keep their players safe, some of them are beginning to opt-out of this season. On Thursday afternoon, Mike Leake (Arizona), Joe Ross (Washington), and Ryan Zimmerman (Washington) all announced that they will opt-out of this season. They all did so within an hour each other.
Of those three, Mike Leake will be missed most by his team. I will discuss the other two in a second. Leake was 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA in 32 starts a year ago overall, including 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 10 starts for the Diamondbacks. He started the year in Seattle. Leake will be at the backend of the Arizona lineup and he has gone 243-238 with a 4.03 ERA in his career when pitching in the National League. That compares to going 58-58 with a 4.16 ERA in the American League.
Leake is in the final year of a guaranteed contract. He and the Diamondbacks will look to work out a contract worth $18 million for next year but if they can’t, then Leake could be bought out of his contract for $5 million. Without Leake, it will be Alex Young and Merrill Kelly who will vie for his spot in the rotation.
From Leake’s Agent:
“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.”
Joe Ross will not be a huge loss for the Nationals. Yes, he could be their 5th starter but Ross does not have good numbers in his career. Last year, he was 4-4 with a 5.48 ERA in 27 games, nine starts, after going 0-3 with a 5.06 ERA in three starts in 2018 and 5-3 with a 5.01 ERA in 13 starts back in 2017. The Nats have more than enough pitching to overcome his loss.
Ryan Zimmerman has played in just 137 games the last two years and he has just 19 homers along with 78 RBIs in those games. He is not a starter anymore and some feel that this could be the prelude to him retiring. This would have been his 16th year in the league and it will be interesting to see if he comes back next year.