Ian Desmond won't play in 2020.  Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond will opt out of playing in the 2020 MLB season. He provided a thoughtful explanation of his decisionmaking process in an announcement on Instagram.

Desmond explains that “the COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking.” He says he’s compelled to stay home “with a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world.”

Fortunately for all of us that care about the future of the game, the widely respected Desmond says he intends to work with his local Little League (in Sarasota, Florida) while he’s not playing this year. He did not offer an indication of his future plans for returning to the diamond.

Desmond’s announcement is essential reading for all baseball fans. It’s a powerful call to action to deal with glaring inequity in the game, from its lowest to its loftiest levels.

Three other big leaguers preceded Desmond in announcing that they would not participate in the 2020 season. No doubt others will follow. It is not known whether Desmond had any personal medical issue that will allow him to opt out while still accruing salary and service time. If not, he will forego a pro-rated portion of his $15M salary for the year. He remains under contract with the Rockies through 2021 and the club also controls him in 2022 via club option.

This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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