The stories of the citizens of Washington and Ryan Zimmerman intertwine. The franchise moved from Montreal, where they were known as Expos, in 2005, the same year they pulled Zimmerman out of college. He reached the major leagues at the end of that season and has been with them ever since, the face of the franchise through the lean seasons, their renaissance and their first World Series title last year.
The coronavirus pandemic, however, ended that series – or at least paused it. Zimmerman announced on Monday that he would give up on the 2020 Major League Baseball season, which will begin on July 23rd. He became the most important player to do so, joining his teammate Joe Ross, his former teammate Ian Desmond, of the Colorado Rockies and Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who also bowed Monday, days before the start of a second spring training.
Based on the regulations agreed by M.L.B. and the union of players, each player is allowed to give up on the 2020 season, which is scheduled for the last 60 games. But only those who have a higher risk of serious illness due to their medical history will receive pay and service time after giving up.
Zimmerman, who would have earned $ 740,000 in proportional pay during this shortened season, said in his statement that he had given the decision “a great deal of thought” and cited his family circumstances – he has three young children, including a month old. age son, and his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995.
“Everyone knows what it’s like to be part of a team and I’m going to miss that camaraderie this year,” he said.
During the winter, 35-year-old Zimmerman signed again with citizens for a year and $ 2 million. He earned over $ 133 million in his 15-year career. On Monday he said “he wasn’t retiring at the moment”.
Ross, 27, a right-handed pitcher who had the option to do the initial citizen rotation, was entering his sixth season with the club and was expected to earn around $ 555,000 in proportional proportions.
In a statement released by the team, the general manager of the national team Mike Rizzo said that Ross and Zimmerman opted for “personal health and the safety of themselves and their loved ones” and said that the club “one hundred percent” supported their decisions.
Desmond, 34 – who has won three Silver Slugger Awards while he was Zimmerman’s teammate from 2009-15 – has published a long heard statement on Instagram at the end of Monday, which exposes his education, the racism he faced as a biracial man, the decaying accessibility of baseball and his family. Desmond, an outfield player, was expected to earn around $ 5.6 million in proportionally split payments, but wrote that he was not comfortable with the health risk of playing baseball this season.
“With a pregnant wife and four young children who have a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now,” he wrote. “Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to drive. Home to answer questions from my three older children about Coronavirus, civil rights and life. Home to be their dad. “
Leake, 32, was the first M.L.B. player to make his waiver intentions public. In what would be his eleventh season in the league, Leake was expected to earn around $ 5.6 million in split wages. His contract also included a $ 18 million mortgage option or a $ 5 million buyout for the 2021 season.
“This was not an easy decision for Mike,” Leake’s agent, Danny Horwits, said in a statement. Horwits also said that Leake had “many discussions” with his family about playing this season and took “countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him and his family.”
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, 71, is the oldest in his position at M.L.B. is has pledged to manage this season. But he acknowledged that he and his coaches – three of whom are 62 years of age or older – are most at risk during the pandemic.
On Monday, the Minnesota Twins reassigned two of their high-risk Major League coaches – Bob McClure, 68, and Bill Evers, 66 – after reviewing their staff members’ health stories.
“It’s as difficult a decision as you will have in baseball,” twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters. “They both wanted to be part of this season more than anything else, both very disappointed to hear the news, but they both know it’s the right and safe thing to do.”
Twins officials told reporters that McClure and Evers would pay their full wages but would work remotely in other roles from home.