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Rockies’ Ian Desmond opts out of 2021 season “for now”

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

On Sunday morning, Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond announced on Instagram that he is opting out of the 2021 MLB season “for now”.

“Over the last few months, I’ve had tough conversations,” Desmond wrote. “I’ve asked a lot of questions and done a lot of thinking. For now, I’ve decided to opt out of the 2021 season. 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.”

Desmond is the first Major League Baseball player to opt out of the 2021 season. Per the updated health and safety protocols, players are allowed to opt out of the 2021 season and can change their mind and to return at any time. Last year players had to return by a certain date.

Desmond also opted out of playing during the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a wide range of systemic issues within MLB.

This is the final season of his five-year, $70 million contract. Last season he forfeited $5.6 million in prorated salary and is reported to forfeit another $8 million in salary this year if he does not opt back in. The Rockies hold a $15-million club option on him for 2022 with a $2-million buyout.

According to the health and safety protocols, players who are not high-risk individuals do not get paid or accrue service time after opting out.

Rockies pitchers and catchers reported to spring training in Scottsdale last Thursday. Position players are due to report this coming Tuesday.