San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey has announced he will forego playing this season. Posey is the latest MLB player to exercise his option to sit out the abbreviated 2020 season due to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic.
Posey has expressed concerns about his comfort level on several occasions, so this is not exactly a surprise. At the age of 33, he is also a veteran who has earned a substantial sum in his career so far, which means that the financial ramifications of sitting out (players who do not have an underlying health condition who opt out do not receive their salary or service time) do not impact him the way it does many other players.
Posey had the worst season of his career in 2019, and the Giants are in a rebuilding season. Ken Rosenthal wrote earlier today that teams that fall out of the race quickly, or that are not seen as having a significant chance of success in 2020, could see an exodus of veteran players who feel putting their health at risk for an abbreviated season simply isn’t worth it.
I would expect to see some more players opt out before the season starts in two weeks. Rosenthal does note that a player who opts out for health reasons can opt to return, but a player such as Posey, who opts out without an underlying health concern, cannot return in 2020 for the regular season or the playoffs.
UPDATE — Posey and his wife are adopting twin girls who were born prematurely and have been in NICU. These babies, and protecting their health, is apparently a very significant factor in Posey’s decision.