The list of veteran players who have chosen not to take part in the 2020 MLB season is growing, and Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis is the latest.
Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters on Monday that Markakis has informed the team he will not play this year.
Brian Snitker just announced Nick Markakis has elected to opt out for this season.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 6, 2020
Markakis is the second Braves player to opt out of the season. The decision is significant, as he is 36 and giving up a season very late in his career.
Four Braves players tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, and Freddie Freeman was one of them. Freeman experienced symptoms from the virus, and Markakis said that factored into his decision. He also said he has reservations of playing games without fans.
Markakis said talking to #Braves' Freeman on the phone, hearing how sick he sounded, made Markakis "open his eyes" and think about it. Has three kids. Also said said "biggest thing is we play this game for the fans" and to not have them part of that "is tough."
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 6, 2020
Markakis had a $6 million club option for 2020 that the Braves picked up back in November. He had a productive season in 2019, hitting .285 with nine home runs and 62 RBI. He was one of the most outspoken players this offseason about the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal.