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Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond announced he is opting out of a second consecutive MLB season amid the coronavirus pandemic, bringing his salary total to $13.56 million that he’s walked away from.
“For now, I’ve decided to opt out of the 2021 season,” Desmond wrote in an Instagram story. “My desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back and play baseball under these circumstances. I’m going to continue to train and watch how things unfold.”
The 35-year-old was owed $8 million this year and was set to make $5.56 million of his prorated $15 million salary last season. The Rockies have a $15 million option on Desmond for next season with a $2 million buyout.
Desmond, who hit .255 with 20 homers in 140 games in 2019, also cited a myriad of issues within baseball, including sexism, homophobia, and socioeconomic concerns when he opted out of the 2020 season. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, Desmond, who is biracial, mentioned the racial injustice movement that was sparked by George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police’s custody, which sparked protests around the world.
He said he’s “had tough conversations. I’ve asked a lot of questions and done a lot of thinking” over the last few months before he came to his decision to opt out.
“This impacts a lot of people, some positively and some negatively, and I own that. At the end of the day, this weighs on me more than anyone else but I’m following my heart and feel good about my decision,” Desmond wrote. “I’ve let my teammates know, as well as the coaching staff and the front office, and they have all been extremely understanding and supportive. I wish nothing but the best for the entire Rockies organization and have let them know I am willing to do whatever I can to help them from afar.”