David Price, Felix Hernandez Opt Out of 2020 MLB Season

Author:
Publish date:

Baseball will be without a pair of Cy Young Award winners when—or perhaps, if— the season resumes later this month.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price chose to opt out of the 2020 MLB  season, the left-hander announced Saturday. That was followed later in the evening by a tweet from the agent of Atlanta Braves pitcher Felix Hernandez, who will also sit out.

"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 not to play this season," Price wrote on social media. "I will miss my teammates and will be cheering for them throughout the season and on to a World Series victory."

Price, 34, was preparing to make his debut in Los Angeles after being traded from the Boston Red Sox, along with Mookie Betts, in February.

In his announcement, Price acknowledged that he plans to make his debut with the Dodgers in 2021.

"I'm sorry I won't be playing for you this year, but look forward to representing you next year," Price wrote to Dodgers fans.

Hernandez signed a minor-league contract with the Braves over the offseason after 15 seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He was expected to pitch in the team's rotation for at least the beginning of the season, as Atlanta indicated it would use a "piggybacking" strategy so starters could stretch themselves out and only pitch a few innings per appearance at the outset. 

In May, Price committed to give $1,000 to every minor leaguer in Los Angeles' system for the month of June amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

Price joins a group of MLB players who have chosen to sit out the 2020 season, including Ryan Zimmerman, Mike Leake, Ian Desmond and others. Under the MLBPA's agreement with the league, MLB players have the ability to opt-out due to their concerns over COVID-19. On Friday, the two parties announced that 31 players had tested positive for coronavirus in the league's initial testing as teams return to training camps.

Price is coming off a 2019 season in which he recorded a 4.28 ERA and 7-5 record in 22 games started. The 12-year MLB veteran was named a Cy Young award-winner in 2012 and won the World Series with Boston in 2018.