The stories of the Washington Nationals as well as Ryan Zimmerman are intertwined. The franchise moved via Montreal, where they were known as the Expos, in 2005, the same year they drafted Zimmerman out of college. He reached the major leagues late of which season as well as has been with them ever since, the face of the franchise through the lean seasons, their renaissance as well as, last year, their first World Series title.
The coronavirus pandemic, however, has ended of which streak — or at least put This specific on pause. Zimmerman announced Monday of which he could opt out of the 2020 Major League Baseball season, which is usually set to begin July 23. He became the most prominent player to do so, joining his teammate Joe Ross, his former teammate Ian Desmond, of the Colorado Rockies, as well as Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who also bowed out on Monday, days before a second spring training is usually set to begin.
“I cannot speak for anyone else, nevertheless given the unusual nature of the season, This specific is usually the best decision for me as well as my family,” Zimmerman, a first baseman, said in a statement released by his agents, “as well as I truly appreciate the organization’s understanding as well as support.”
Based on the regulations agreed upon by M.L.B. as well as the players’ union, any player is usually allowed to opt out of the 2020 season, which is usually slated to last 60 games. nevertheless only those at higher risk of severe illness via the coronavirus because of their medical history will receive pay as well as service time after opting out.
Zimmerman, who could have earned $740,000 in prorated pay during This specific shortened season, said in his statement of which he had given the decision “a great deal of thought” as well as cited his family circumstances — he has three young children, including a one-month old son, as well as his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995.
“Everyone knows how much This specific means to be part of a team, as well as I will miss of which camaraderie dearly This specific year,” he said.
Over the winter, Zimmerman, 35, re-signed with the Nationals for one year as well as $2 million. He has made over $133 million in his 15-year career. He said on Monday of which he was “not retiring at This specific time.”
Ross, 27, a right-handed pitcher who had a chance of generating the Nationals’ starting rotation, was entering his sixth season with the club as well as was supposed to make about $555,000 in prorated pay.
In a team-issued statement, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said of which Ross as well as Zimmerman opted out “for the personal health as well as safety of themselves as well as their loves ones” as well as said the club “one hundred percent” supported their decisions.
Desmond, 34 — who won three Silver Slugger Awards while he was Zimmerman’s teammate via 2009-15 — posted a lengthy, heartfelt statement on Instagram late Monday expounding upon his upbringing, the racism he has faced as a biracial man, the declining accessibility of baseball as well as his family. Desmond, an outfielder, was due to make about $5.6 million in prorated pay nevertheless wrote of which he didn’t feel comfortable with the health risk of playing baseball This specific season.
“which has a pregnant wife as well as four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on inside the entire world, home is usually where I need to be right right now,” he wrote. “Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide. Home to answer my older three boys’ questions about Coronavirus as well as Civil Rights as well as life. Home to be their Dad.”
Leake, 32, was the first M.L.B. player to make his opt-out intentions public. In what could have been his 11th major league season, Leake was due to make roughly $5.6 million in prorated pay. His contract also called for an $18 million mutual option or a $5 million buyout for the 2021 season.
“This specific was not an easy decision for Mike,” Leake’s agent, Danny Horwits, said in a statement. Horwits also said of which Leake had “many discussions” with his family about playing This specific season as well as they took “countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him as well as his family.”
Houston Astros Manager Dusty Baker, 71, is usually the oldest at his position in M.L.B. as well as has committed to managing This specific season. nevertheless he has acknowledged of which he as well as his coaches — three of whom are 62 or older — are more at risk during the pandemic.
On Monday, the Minnesota Twins reassigned two of their higher risk major-league coaches — Bob McClure, 68, as well as Bill Evers, 66 — after examining the health histories of their staff members.
“This specific’s about as difficult a decision call as you’re going to have inside the game of baseball,” Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters. “Both wanted to be part of This specific season more than anything, both very disappointed to hear the news, nevertheless both know This specific’s the right as well as safe thing to do.”
Twins officials told reporters of which McClure as well as Evers could be paid their full salaries nevertheless could work remotely in some other roles via home.