Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies announced on Instagram on Monday night that he will not play Major League Baseball in 2020.
Just hours after Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich told media members that all members of his team were expected to report to camp at Coors Field when it opened on Wednesday, Desmond took to Instagram to announce his intentions in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking,” Desmond wrote at the end of this long Instagram post. “But that doesn’t mean I’m leaving baseball behind for the year. I’ll be right here, at my old Little League, and I’m working with everyone involved to make sure we get Sarasota Youth Baseball back on track. It’s what I can do, in the scheme of so much. So, I am.
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“With a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now. Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide. Home to answer my older three boys’ questions about Coronavirus and Civil Rights and life. Home to be their Dad.”
Desmond signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Rockies prior to the 2017 campaign. After being slated to earn $15 million in 2020, Desmond will have the final year of his contract remaining in 2021, bearing an $8 million price tag, according to Spotrac.
Earlier in the day, Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks opted out of the 2020 season. Because he was not a player at high risk, it has been reported that he will not be paid or gather service time for the 2020 campaign. It is unclear if Desmond will fit into that same category for pay and service time or not.
In his three seasons in Colorado, Desmond has a .252/.313/.429 slash line with 49 home runs and 193 RBI. The 34-year-old Desmond was expected to be in the rotation for an outfield spot in 2020, likely platooning in left field with Raimel Tapia and Sam Hilliard while David Dahl and Charlie Blackmon served as the primary outfielders in center and right, respectively.
Desmond was part of Colorado’s initial 52-man roster that was released on Sunday afternoon. He is also now the fourth known MLB player to opt out of the 2020 campaign, joining Leake and Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross.
This is a developing story. We will keep it updated.