With players starting to return to their home cities for Spring Training 2.0, it was inevitable that some players would decide to skip this season. Trevor Ariza, DeAndre Jordon, and Avery Bradley have already decide to opt out of the NBAs return, so it was only a matter of time before other sports followed. This week we got news of the first players from the MLB to decide to not come back for this season. The most notable players are Mike Leake, Ian Desmond, and Ryan Zimmerman.
The Diamondbacks listed Leake on their 60-man roster earlier this week. The 32 year old pitcher has decided it is best for him and his family that he sit out this season. Leake went a combined 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA pitching for the Mariners and Diamondbacks last season. He is a stable arm in the back end of the rotation that will get you around 200 innings a season. He is certainly a player that the Diamondbacks will miss this season, but he says he looks forward to coming back in 2021.
Desmond has been a member of the Rockies outfield for the past couple seasons. Ever since he joined the Rockies, Desmond has been below a replacement level player; playing no where near the level he did when he was with the Nationals.
Desmond not only cites the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the systemic racial injustice that is going on in our world right now. If you have just 2 minutes, please read his thoughts in the Instagram post above. It is extremely powerful, relevant, and important that his thoughts and feelings are shown and validated. His reasoning for sitting out goes far beyond the virus, and his call for change needs to be heard.
The most notable player on the list is Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman, or Mr. National, was an integral member of the Nationals World Series team last season. He mentioned in a statement that because of his young family and his high-risk mother, he has decided to sit out the 2020 season. He wanted to make it clear that he is not retiring as of right now. Zimmerman is not sure what his baseball status will be after 2020, but he knows that he will not be playing this season.
It is not surprising that players have been opting out of this season. We have already seen facilities shut down due to outbreaks. The Texas Rangers have reported an outbreak amongst their staff and many members are terrified of coming back to work because of it. I still believe there is a strong chance of no season happening due to Covid. With states reopening and people going back to work, cases are certainly going to rise. Because of this, it would not be surprising to see many more players decide to skip this season, stay with their families, and help keep everyone safe and healthy.
-Pete Chatterton (Pchat12)
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