Which Players Are Opting Out of the 2020 MLB Season?

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The 2020 MLB season is underway amid the coronavirus pandemic, but not every player is committing to playing.

Baseball's return came after a long and dramatic negotiating period between MLB and the MLBPA over the number of games, players' prorated salaries and health and safety protocols. Players reported to summer camp in early July ahead of MLB's Opening Day games on July 23 and 24. 

Due to coronavirus concerns, players have the ability to opt out this season. Those who are at a higher risk for contracting the virus due to a pre-existing health condition will receive their full prorated salary and service time, while players who opt out for personal reasons receive nothing.

Here are all the players opting out of the 2020 MLB season:

  • Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals: The reigning 2019 World Series champion has decided to opt out because he has three young children, including a newborn, and his mother has multiple sclerosis, putting her at a higher risk for contracting the virus. The 35-year-old confirmed he is not retiring this year.
  • Mike Leake, Diamondbacks: Leake's agent, Danny Horwits, confirmed the 32-year-old's decision. The pending free agent was the first known MLB player to forgo playing this season. He was in the final season of his five-year, $80 million deal and will pass up his $5.5 million prorated salary.
  • Joe Ross, Nationals: The team confirmed Ross will join Zimmerman in sitting out this season. Ross, 27, was expected to compete for a spot in Washington's starting rotation. He recorded a 5.48 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 64 innings last season.
  • Ian Desmond, Rockies: Desmond penned a thoughtful essay to explain why he is sitting out the 2020 season. He said he wants to stay home with his pregnant wife Chelsey and four children. In his post, he included his "thoughts and experiences as a biracial man in America," noting his responsibility to answer questions from his children regarding "coronavirus and civil rights and life."
  • Tyson Ross, free agent: Veteran pitcher Tyson Ross, brother of Joe Ross, is sitting out the season. Ross appeared in seven games for the Tigers last season and has pitched with the Athletics, Rangers, Padres and Cardinals, among other teams.
  • Welington Castillo, Nationals: Manager Dave Martinez confirmed Castillo will not join the Nationals this season due to health concerns regarding his children and family in the Dominican Republic. The 33-year-old catcher had a non-roster invite to spring training in February.
  • David Price, Dodgers: Price said it's "in the best interest" of his health and his family's health to sit out the 2020 season. The southpaw will miss his first season with the Dodgers after the club acquired him and right fielder Mookie Betts in a trade with the Red Sox in February.
  • Felix Hernandez, Braves: The veteran pitcher attended two workouts with the Braves and then decided to opt-out of the season due to COVID-19. Hernandez signed a minor-league contract Atlanta over the offseason after 15 seasons with the Mariners. He was expected to pitch in the team's rotation for at least the beginning of the season.
  • Hector Noesi, Pirates: The veteran pitcher has opted out of the season after speaking with his family.
  • Buster Posey, Giants: Posey opted out of the season after revealing his family recently adopted newborn twin girls who were born prematurely. The All-Star catcher told reporters he probably would have played this season if the twins were not born prematurely.
  • Michael Kopech, White Sox: The 24-year-old pitcher was on his way back from Tommy John surgery and recently informed the club he would not participate in the 2020 season. 
  • Jordan Hicks, Cardinals: The right-hander opted out of the 2020 season, citing health concerns. Hicks, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, has Type 1 Diabetes, which could lead to complications from COVID-19.
  • Collin McHugh, Red Sox: Manager Ron Roenicke announced McHugh decided to opt-out since his arm isn't bouncing back from his elbow injury as he hoped. The right-hander has dealt with the injury over the past year and was likely to spend time on the injured list this season.
  • Tim Collins, Rockies: The left-hander opted out of the season three days after the Rockies' season opener. Collins was listed in Colorado's 60-man player pool but did not make its Opening Day 30-man roster.
  • Kohl Stewart, Orioles: The right-hander opted out one week after the season began due to underlying health concerns. "My elevated risk of serious complications of COVID-19 due to type 1 diabetes continues to be of great concern. I am grateful to the organization, as well as my coaches and teammates, for their incredible support," Kohl said in a statement.
  • Isan Díaz, Marlins: The second baseman opted out amid Miami's COVID-19 outbreak. Less than one week into the season, 18 Marlins players tested positive for the virus, prompting MLB to postpone their games for nearly a week. Díaz was not among the players who tested positive but decided opting out is "the best [decision] for me and my overall well-being."
  • Lorenzo Cain, Brewers: Cain opted out a little over a week after the season's start. His decision came after the Brewers' series against the Cardinals was derailed due to multiple St. Louis members testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Francisco Liriano: The veteran free agent pitcher chose to opt out of the 2020 season, per MLB insider Robert Murray. Liriano, 36, had reportedly received multiple guaranteed offers but decided not to play. 
  • Yoenis Cespedes: After a day of uncertainty as to his whereabouts, Cespedes's agent informed the Mets that the outfielder has opted out of the rest of the season. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2020 season.
  • Marcus Stroman: The Mets pitcher opted out on Aug. 10 after weighing the decision with his family. Stroman, who was working his way back from a preseason calf injury, said his decision is due to COVID-19 concerns and not his injury. The 29-year-old is set to become a free agent at the end of the year without throwing a single big league pitch in 2020.