CHICAGO – One of the critical decisions that a Major League Baseball player will have to make is coming up here in the next few days.
Veteran players who are deemed “high risk” can opt out of the 60-game 2020 season without losing prorated salary or service time. Those who are not can still do so, but they won’t get either one.
That won’t stop some players who may decide the risk isn’t worth the reward for the shortened season.
Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals decided to opt out on Tuesday citing family reasons.
The Rockies’ Ian Desmond did the same, citing concerns over COVID-19 and family reasons, while also mentioning needs for societal change that he feels takes precedence over baseball.
What about the Cubs?
As of Monday, according to general manager Jed Hoyer, no member of the team had taken the opportunity to opt out of the season. Yet he couldn’t be certain that no one would eventually choose not to participate in the 2020 campaign, and if they do, Hoyer would understand.
“I feel like we have to respect that,” said the general manager when asked about players possibly opting-out. “Everyone’s going to come at this decision from a different angle. I don’t think anyone who plays in the major leagues is going to make that decision lightly.
“They’re going to make it with a lot of input from friends and family, and probably from teammates as well.”
One of those Cubs that could be a greater risk for COVID-19 is Anthony Rizzo since he survived a bout with cancer in his late teens. But Jon Heyman reports that the first baseman is planning to play. Pitcher Jon Lester is also a cancer survivor and would fall into the “high risk” category.
Both appeared on the Cubs’ 50-man roster that was released on Sunday which will make up the team’s player pool for the upcoming 2020 season. There is still time for a player to decide to step aside before the team begins workouts in Chicago and South Bend on Friday.
“Right now we don’t know anyone that’s considering it. I think if we did, we would respect the decision, and understand this is being made from a very important place,” said Hoyer. “To keep either themselves or their family members safe.”
Those 50 Cubs’ players have probably thought about that, along with many others in Major League Baseball over the past few weeks.