MLB and NBA Players Who Have Opted Out of 2020 Seasons Over COVID-19 Concerns (Photos)

Both set to pick up play later this month


The NBA is set to resume its season, and MLB is ready to (finally) throw its first pitch this year, but not everyone will play over concerns of the coronavirus pandemic.

Buster PoseyThe six-time All Star catcher with the San Francisco Giants opted out of the 2020 season after he and his wife planned to adopt two identical twin girls who were, a journalist for The Athletic reported.

David PriceDavid Price, a pitcher formerly for the Boston Red Sox who this season was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, opted out of the season on July 4 out of the interest of the his health and his family’s.

Ian DesmondIan Desmond, an outfielder for the Colorado Rockies, opted out in part because of his pregnant wife and four young children. It was reported that he’d be sacrificing $5.55 million in pro-rated salary for 2020.

Ryan ZimmermanRyan Zimmerman, the 35-year-old first baseman for the World Series champs Washington Nationals, clarified that he would not be retiring by opting out this season. He forfeited $740,000 of pro-rated salary.Also Read: NBC Sports to Move Premier League Streaming Rights to Peacock

Nick MarkakisAtlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis opted out of the 2020 season after seeing his teammate Freddie Freeman contract the coronavirus and be sidelined with symptoms of COVID-19. “Just hearing him, the way he sounded on the phone, it was tough,” Markakis said in a press conference. “It was kind of eye-opening. With everything that’s going on, not just with baseball but all over the world, it makes you open your eyes.”

Mike LeakeArizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake, 32, became the first known MLB player to opt out of the 2020 season on June 29. He was scheduled to make $16 million in a full season and is a free agent in 2021.

Felix HernandezFelix Hernandez, a longtime pitcher and All Star for the Seattle Mariners, opted out of the 2020 season on July 4. He signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves this season and was competing for a rotation spot.

Joe Ross and Tyson RossJoe Ross, 27, and Tyson Ross, 33, two brothers and MLB pitchers for the Washington Nationals and a free agent respectively, both signed out of the 2020 season.

Michael KopechMichael Kopech, 24, a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, announced on July 10 through the team’s general manager that he would be sitting out the 2020 season. Kopech was recovering from Tommy John surgery that kept him sidelined in 2019.

Willie Cauley-SteinCauley-Stein opted out on June 25 because he and his partner are expecting a baby in July.Also Read: 14 Sports Teams That Dumped Racist Names and Mascots (Photos)

Spencer DinwiddieDinwiddie is one of the few players that won’t be playing due to a positive COVID-19 test. On July 7 the Nets’ doctors advised Dinwiddie he should not play out of an abundance of caution. 

Avery BradleyBradley, a vocal critic of the NBA’s restart taking attention away from the nationwide social justice movement, opted out on June 23 in order to remain with his wife and three children.

Wilson ChandlerChandler opted out on June 28 so he could remain with his family and grandmother.

Thabo SefaloshaSefalosha opted out on July 1, though a specific reason was not given. He had previously expressed concerns over playing in the bubble amid the pandemic. 

DeAndre JordanLike his teammate Dinwiddie, Jordan also will sit out the rest of the 2020 campaign after revealing he tested positive for the disease. 

Victor OladipoThe Indiana Pacers star had just come back from a ruptured quad tendon before the shutdown. He cited the uncertainty of the Orlando bubble as part of his reason for opting out. 

Trevor ArizaAriza opted out June 22 in order to commit to a one-month visitation window with his young son. Families are not allowed inside the NBA bubble until the end of August.
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