MLB is expected to open the 2020 season on July 23 after an approximately three-week training period that begins July 3 in club home parks.
Players decide on an individual basis whether to enter the field this year as the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to infect large numbers of people in the US MLB, and the MLB Players Association agreed to more than 100 pages of health and safety protocols intended to keep team staff safe, but players continue to test positive for the virus.
MORE: Important dates, schedule and more to know about the 2020 season
With baseball, players who are considered “high risk” can opt out of playing and not lose their pro rata seasonal salaries or service time. Players who are not considered high risk can also opt out, but then they would lose their salary and not accumulate service time.
Several players have already announced that they will sit out the season instead of taking the chance to get sick. Here is an ongoing list of MLB players that will not fit in 2020.
Mike Leake, RHP, Diamondbacks
Leake was the first player to withdraw. His agent, Danny Horwits, said in a statement on June 29 (per MLB.com) that Leake decided after talking to his family. “They’ve taken into account countless factors, many of which are personal to him and his family,” Horwits said.
Leake, 32, reports about $ 5 million in salary, the amount he would have earned in MLB’s scheduled 60-game season. He will become a free agent in the off season if the D-backs decline their $ 18 million club option for 2021 and pay him a $ 5 million buyout.
Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Nationals
Washington’s longest-lived player also mentioned family issues in his decision to stay away.
“(G) Given my family circumstances – three young children, including a newborn and a high-risk mother – I decided not to participate in the 2020 season,” Zimmerman said in a statement released by the Nationals on June 29.
Zimmerman, 35, said he will not retire, but he has also not made a decision about his baseball future after 2020. He returned another year last season after the Nationals won the World Series. He would make $ 740,000 in the shortened season, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
Joe Ross, RHP, Nationals
Ross, 27, believed Washington was the number 5 starter. Now he forfeits $ 555,556 per Cot’s (or roughly the minimum MLB salary) and the 67 days of service he would have accumulated. The Washington Post noted that loss of days will ensure that Ross is no longer eligible for service after the 2022 season.
“We are one hundred percent in favor of their decision not to play this year,” Nationals CEO Mike Rizzo said of Zimmerman and Ross in a statement.
Ian Desmond, OR, Rockies
Desmond, 34, said in an Instagram post from June 29 that he renounces for two reasons: a desire to be with his family (his wife is pregnant with their fifth child) and his fear as a biracial man about racial injustice. He said he will use the free time to work on reviving youth baseball in his hometown of Sarasota, Fla.
“It’s what I can do, in the plan of so much. So, that’s me, ”he wrote.
His decision costs him $ 5.55 million per bedand service time. He has one more year, plus an option, to go ahead for his five-year $ 70 million contract.
David Price, LHP, Dodgers
Price said July 4 that “it is for the sake of my health and the health of my family that I don’t play this season.” The Dodgers acquired Price, Mookie Betts and cash in a deal with the Red Sox last February. The award will lose nearly $ 12 million in salary this year, however in 2021 and 2022, he still owes $ 32 million each.
Tyson Ross, RHP, Giants
Joe Ross’s brother also refuses to play. Tyson Ross was a non-roster player with San Francisco before being released prior to the start of summer practice.
Felix Hernandez, RHP, Braves
Hernandez’s agent, Wilfredo Polidor, announced on July 4 that the veteran was not aware of concerns about COVID-19. King Felix battled for a rotation spot as a non-roster player when spring training was suspended.
Nick Markakis, OR, Braves
Braves manager Brian Snitker announced this on July 6 that the Atlanta outfielder would serve the season. Markakis, 36, will be signed until the end of the 2020 season. (UPDATE: Markakis announced July 29 that he opted to play again. “Sometimes we all make rash decisions that aren’t thoroughly thought through,” Markakis said through MLB.com.
Buster Posey, C, Giants
Posey and his wife adopt identical twin girls, they announced the morning of July 10. Posey sits as a precautionary season.
Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox
The White Sox announced on July 10 that Kopech would not participate in the 2020 season.
Jordan Hicks, RHP, Cardinals
Cite health problems, Hicks signed out for the 2020 season on July 13. Hicks wanted to return from Tommy John surgery in 2020.
Kohl Stewart, RHP, Orioles
Stewart announced July 31 through the team that he had decided to “interrupt (his) participation”. He said the “increased risk” of COVID-19 complications from his type 1 diabetes “continues to be of major concern.” Stewart had not entered a game this season.