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Players Choosing To Opt Out

July 16, 2020
Though the 2020 MLB season will return next week, not everyone will be coming back to play this season.
Several notable players have opted out primarily due to Coronavirus-related concerns, a completely understandable decision at this time.


The biggest names among those players are Giants catcher Buster Posey and Dodgers pitcher David Price.

Posey and his wife recently adopted newborn twin girls who have health concerns. The 33-year-old Posey has enjoyed a highly successful career with three World Series titles. He has built a Hall of Fame resume as a strong two-way catcher, winning two Fielding Bible Awards for his outstanding defense. He ranks third among catchers in Defensive Runs Saved since the stat was first compiled in 2003.

The Giants will likely hold off on using top prospect Joey Bart at catcher at the start of the season, leaving them to pick between Rob Brantly, Tyler Heineman, and non-roster invitee Chadwick Tromp.

Price, who will turn 35 in August, was going to enter his first season with the Dodgers after being traded by the Red Sox. He’ll hopefully return in 2021 to improve his 150-80 career record and 3.31 ERA. He’s currently 19 strikeouts shy of 2,000.

Another one-time ace who will sit out is Félix Hernández, who was a non-roster invitee to Braves camp. Hernandez had a distinguished career with the Mariners with six All-Star selections and a Cy Young Award. His career numbers bear strong resemblance to several standout pitchers, including Jake Peavy and Dave Stieb, per Bill James Similarity Scores.

Among younger pitchers, White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech has opted out for undisclosed reasons in a season in which he would be returning from Tommy John surgery. He ranked as the White Sox No. 3 prospect entering 2020 according to

Braves outfielder Nick Markakis is also opting out. The 36-year-old Markakis has 2,355 career hits— when the 2019 season ended, the Bill James tool, The Favorite Toy, gave him a 30% chance of reaching the 3,000-hit mark for his career. Hopefully, conditions will be such that Markakis can return next season and still have an outside chance at that goal. The Braves have signed Yasiel Puig who will presumably take Markakis’ role for now.

Similar to Markakis, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who is sitting due to family health issues, will try to return in 2021, and pick up his quest for 2,000 hits (he’s 216 shy).

Among veteran players, we should also take note of Ian Desmond, who wrote a lengthy essay on Instagram explaining that he'd be sitting out 2020. He cited concerns about the Coronavirus as well as a desire to take care of his family and educate his children on social justice, and to help grow youth baseball programs in Sarasota, Florida.

Desmond has had five seasons of at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases but the impact of his work in 2020 could far outweigh his statistical accomplishments.

SIS wishes all players who have chosen to sit out this season the best of health.

Below is a list of the players who have chosen to opt out sorted alphabetically by last name. You can keep up with this list at

Players Opting Out of 2020 Season

Name Team
Welington Castillo Nationals
Ian Desmond Rockies
Félix Hernández Braves
Jordan Hicks Cardinals
Michael Kopech White Sox
Mike Leake Diamondbacks
Nick Markakis Braves
Héctor Noesí Pirates
Buster Posey Giants
David Price Dodgers
Joe Ross Nationals
Tyson Ross Unsigned
Ryan Zimmerman Nationals

COMMENTS (1 Comment)

Thanks, Mark.

Many players have come down with COVID-19. I am wondering with trepidation what long lasting effect that will have on their skills (if any).
1:05 PM Jul 17th
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