Last Updated on July 15, 2020
After months of will they won’t they, Major League Baseball is forging ahead with a 60-game season. Of course, pushing forward with a season doesn’t come without its risks in a world dominated by COVID-19. Players are already testing positive for coronavirus and some are even choosing to opt-out of the season entirely.
Several players are voicing their concerns and some of those guys have already decided to stay home and gear up for 2021. It’s a personal choice for each player and they shouldn’t be criticized for sitting out. With that said, these opt-outs could have a major impact on the 2020 MLB betting season.
The National League East is seeing a bunch of big names pull out, including Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Markakis.
MLB Players Who Are Staying Home
Michael Kopech — Chicago White Sox
One of the best young pitching prospects in baseball is choosing to opt out of the 2020 season. The 24-year-old is opting out for “personal reasons.”
“We recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Buster Posey — San Francisco Giants
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Buster Posey is opting out of the 2020 season after missing a few days of workouts. Andrew Baggarly of the Athletic is reporting that Posey and his wife are adopting twin girls who were born prematurely, which played a factor into his decision.
David Price — Los Angeles Dodgers
Former Cy Young winner David Price announced his decision via social media:
“Dear Dodgers Nation,
After considerable thought and discussion with my family and the Dodgers, I have decided it is in the best interest of my health and my family’s health for me to not play this season. I will miss my teammates and will be cheering for them throughout the season and on to a World Series victory. I’m sorry I won’t be playing for you this year, but look forward to representing you next year.
Stay safe, be well, and be kind. And Go Dodgers!
Welington Castillo — Washington Nationals
Welington Castillo is the third National to back out of the 2020 season. Manager Davey Martinez announced his catcher’s decision on a Zoom call with reporters per Matt Weyrich of NBC Sports Washington.
Nick Markakis — Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis is opting out according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The veteran cited an “eye-opening” conversation with teammate Freddie Freeman as a major factor in his decision.
“Just hearing him, the way he sounded on the phone, it was tough,” Markakis said. “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.”
Ian Desmond — Colorado Rockies
Desmond announced his decision to sit out the 2020 season in a powerful Instagram post. His decision to stay home was not influenced solely by COVID-19. Desmond also cites the murder of George Floyd and the ongoing social unrest as a reason to forego the 2020 season and spend his time with his children and pregnant wife.
Tyson Ross — Free Agent
Joe Ross’ brother, Tyson Ross, is also opting out of the 2020 season per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
Joe Ross — Washington Nationals
Ross announced his decision at the same time as Zimmerman. The franchise is supporting both players in their decision and general manager Mike Rizzo voiced his support for his players:
“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.”
Ryan Zimmerman — Washington Nationals
Ryan Zimmerman and his teammate Joe Ross were among the first players to opt-out of the 2020 season. In a diary for the Associated Press, Zimmerman cited his family as a major reason for choosing to stay home.
“I have a 3-week-old baby,” Zimmerman wrote. “My mother has multiple sclerosis and is super high-risk; if I end up playing, I can pretty much throw out the idea of seeing her until weeks after the season is over. There’s a lot of factors that I and others have to consider. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer; it’s everybody’s individual choice.”
Mike Leake — Arizona Diamondbacks
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, starting pitcher Mike Leake is opting out after taking “countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him and his family.”