Here are the MLB Players Opting Out of the 2020 Season

Here are the MLB Players Opting Out of the 2020 Season

Illustration for article titled Here are the MLB Players Opting Out of the 2020 Season
Illustration: Eric Barrow (Shutterstock)

With Opening Day just weeks away, the number of players deciding to sit out the 2020 MLB season due to mounting coronavirus concerns. Here’s a running account of the players who have decided to opt out.

Been editing/writing sports for some time, mainly in NYC and a stint in LA.

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Marcus Stroman

The Mets starter, hasn’t pitched at all during this 60-game farce due to a calf injury, announced on August 10 that he would not return at all, citing COVID-19 concerns.

Stroman expressed this was a “family decision” based on concerns about “uncertainties” and “unknowns” involving the virus.

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Yoenis Cespedes

Cespedes went missing-in-action before a game against the Braves on Aug. 2, sparking a brief panic and outpouring of concern for the Mets slugger’s safety — but he had chosen to opt out of the season without first letting team management know.

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Lorenzo Cain

Lorenzo Cain

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Lorenzo Cain

The Milwaukee Brewers announced that outfielder Lorenzo Cain has decided to sit out the remainder of the season. In a statement on Twitter, the Brewers said they fully support his decision and will miss his play and leadership. Cain, 34, won a Gold Glove last season and was hitting .333 on the young 2020 season.

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Isan Diaz

Isan Diaz

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Isan Diaz

The Miami Marlins announced no new positive COVID-19 tests today, but infielder Isan Diaz has decided to opt out of the 2020 season. Diaz, 24, was a rookie in 2019 and was 2-for-9 this season.

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Michael Kopech 

Michael Kopech 

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Michael Kopech 

The White Sox hard-throwing right-hander will not play this season, further delaying his comeback from Tommy John surgery. According to ESPN, Kopech hit 100 mph in spring training before the sport was shut down, but has missed summer camp so far due to a personal matter.

Kopech, a first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2014, was one of four players traded to Chicago for Chris Sale. Kopech, 24, is 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA in 4 career starts, all in 2018.

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Buster Posey

The Giants catcher, citing concerns over the health of his family — including two young twin daughters — has decided to sit out the 2020 season.

“I just feel like in the current state that we are right now and these babies being as fragile as they are for the next four months at minimum, this ultimately wasn’t that difficult a decision for me,” Posey said.

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Mike Leake

Mike Leake

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Mike Leake

The Diamondbacks righthander announced on June 29 that he would not play in 2020, even though the veteran pitcher is fighting for a spot on the back of Arizona’s rotation. Leake, 32, who has played for five different teams since entering the league back in 2010, was not specific as to his reason for not participating but according to his agent, Danny Horwits, he’s been considering “countless” factors.

“This was not an easy decision for Mike,” said Horwits in a statement. “He wishes the best of luck and health for his Diamondback teammates this season and he’s looking forward to 2021.”

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Ryan Zimmerman

Ryan Zimmerman

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Ryan Zimmerman

The 15-year veteran first baseman, and face of the Nationals franchise, announced on June 29, that he would not take part in D.C.’s title defense. Zimmerman, 35, cited concerns about his family for his reason for opting out. Zimmerman has three children, including a one-month son. Zimmerman’s mother, according to the New York Times, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995.

“I cannot speak for anyone else, but given the unusual nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family,” Zimmerman, a first baseman, said in a statement, “and I truly appreciate the organization’s understanding and support.”

Zimmerman will be a free agent after this season and made it clear he is not retiring.

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Joe Ross and Tyson Ross

Joe Ross and Tyson Ross

Brothers Tyson and Joe Ross.
Brothers Tyson and Joe Ross.
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Joe Ross and Tyson Ross

The brothers both decided to not play in 2020 on June 29. Nationals manager Mike Rizzo released a statement in support of righthander Joe Ross, and fellow Nationals teammate Ryan Zimmerman.

“Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have decided not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. We are 100 percent supportive of their decision to not play this year. We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field.”

Tyson Ross had signed a minor-league deal with the San Francisco Giants, but will also not be participating prior to the entire minor league season being scrapped.

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Ian Desmond

Ian Desmond

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Ian Desmond

After posting a powerful, thought-provoking message on Instagram on June 30, the 11-year veteran stated that he was not going to play in 2020 due to concerns for his family. The Rockies outfielder and his wife are expecting their fifth child. Instead, Desmond, 34, said he was going to stay in his hometown of Sarasota, Fla. and spend his time rejuvenating the area’s youth baseball facility, saying on Instagram:

“I’ll be right here at my old Little League. And I’m working with everyone involved to make sure we get Sarasota Youth Baseball back on track. It’s what I can do, in the scheme of so much.”

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Wellington Castillo

On July 3, the catcher became the Nationals’ third player (Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross) to opt out of playing the 2020 season due to COVID-19.

“I talked to him and he decided that he wasn’t going to come,” said Nats manager Dave Martinez on a Zoom call. “He’s got two little kids and his wife in the Dominican [Republic]. I don’t hold anything against those guys. They have family.”

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David Price

David Price

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David Price

The 2012 AL CY Young winner posted to twitter on July 4 that he would sit out the 2020 season, saying he spent considerable time discussing the matter with the Dodgers organization as well as with his family.

“I have decided it is in the best interest of my health and my family’s health for me to not play this season,” tweeted Price, 34. “I will miss my teammates and will be cheering them on throughout the season and on to a World Series victory.”

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Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez

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Felix Hernandez

The longtime Seattle Mariner and 2010 Cy Young winner had landed a minor-league deal with the Braves back in January, and would have been competing for a spot on the rotation, but decided to not to play just one day after the franchise announced that four of its players had tested positive, including four-time All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman. Hernandez is 34 years old.

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Nick Markakis

The Braves outfielder decided on July 6 to not play the 2020 season after a phone call with teammate Freddie Freeman who has been battling COVID-19.

“Just hearing him, the way he sounded on the phone, it was tough,’’ said the 36-year-old Markakis. “It was kind of eye-opening. With everything that’s going on, not just with baseball but all over the world, it makes you open your eyes.’’Freeman’s illness was characterized by his wife as hitting her husband with “a ton of bricks.”

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Been editing/writing sports for some time, mainly in NYC and a stint in LA.