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Ian Desmond opts out of playing in 2020

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Ian Desmond is the first Rockie to announce he will not be playing Major League Baseball in 2020.

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In a lengthy Instagram post that spanned nine pages of text, Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond announced he would be opting out of playing the 2020 season on Monday evening.

As part of the health and safety protocols agreed upon by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, any player is allowed to opt out of playing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players who are high-risk are eligible to opt out without losing pro-rated salary or service time, but those not in said category will forgo said salary and service time. Earlier on Monday, Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks became the first player to announce he was opting out of playing this season. Soon after, Joe Ross and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals opted out as well.

By opting out, Desmond will forgo his $5.5 million prorated salary and service time for the 2020 season, according to Cot’s Contracts. This was the fourth year of his five-year deal with the Rox. He also has a club option for the 2022 campaign.

On Monday morning, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich and manager Bud Black held a media availability on Zoom. Bridich said he was not able to publicly disseminate information about players choosing not to participate in the season but did say, “At this point, we expect everyone to be there.”

More than just an announcement of his plans for the upcoming season, Desmond’s post addresses what he said are inequalities that are becoming increasingly apparent in baseball in general and MLB in particular.

Desmond said he will be taking the time off to spend with his wife, Chelsey, who is pregnant with the couple’s fifth child. Additionally, he will be assisting with the Sarasota Little League, where he grew up playing ball.

Desmond’s full post is well worth a read in its entirety:

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On my mind.

A post shared by Ian Desmond (@i_dez20) on