The 2020 MLB has not even gotten underway and team managers are already having to shuffle rosters after some players have announced that they are sitting out the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among those opting out for the season is Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman who cites three small children – one a newborn – and a mother at high risk as his reason for not playing.
The 35 year old Zimmerman has been a part of the Nationals for 15 years and is still evaluating his options for the future said, “given the unusual nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family.”
Zimmerman’s team mate pitcher Joe Ross has also chosen to sit out the 2020 season.
Zimmerman and Ross’ manager Mike Rizzo spoke on the player’s decision saying, “we will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field,” adding that he and the team supports their decisions.
While they will remain with the team to work in alternative roles, the Minnesota Twins will not have their 68 year old bullpen coach Bob McClure or 66 year old Bill Evers in the clubhouse or on the field for this season. Both coaches are in a high risk category and are opting out for health concerns.
While he gave no specific reason, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake is also sitting out the 2020 baseball season. Leake was among the first players to announce that he would not be playing in the upcoming season.
Due to travel issues, the D-Backs will not have international prospects Kristian Robinson from the Bahamas and Bo Takahashi from Brazil.
Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond, a biracial player, is looking beyond the virus for reasons why he will not be playing this season including racism, sexism, homophobia and socioeconomic concerns. Desmond said, “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.
Desmond is also looking to lend a hand to youth baseball in his hometown of Sarasota, Florida during his time off. Noting the disparaging look of the field where he played as a child, Desmond said, “why can’t we support teaching the game to all kids — but especially those in underprivileged communities? Why aren’t accessible, affordable youth sports viewed as an essential opportunity to affect kids’ development, as opposed to money-making propositions and recruiting chances? It’s hard to wrap your head around it.”