Colorado Rockies veteran outfielder Ian Desmond is opting out for a second straight season.
Desmond announced Sunday on his Instagram account that his “desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back and play baseball under these circumstances. I’m going to train and watch how things unfold.” He added “for now” in his statement to opt-out, leaving the door open for a possible return.
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The 35-year-old Desmond is in the final year of a five-year, $70 million deal he signed in December 2016. He is scheduled to make $8 million this season. Colorado has a $15 million option for 2022 with a $2 million buyout.
In opting out last season during the coronavirus-shortened season, Desmond cited a desire to spend more time with his family and to help grow youth baseball in his Florida hometown. He also added the COVID-19 pandemic made the baseball season one that “is a risk I am not comfortable taking.”
On Sunday, Desmond wrote of his decision: “This impacts a lot of people, some positively and some negatively, and I own that. At the end of the day, this weighs on me more than anyone but I’m following my heart and I feel good about my decision.”
Desmond added that he’s informed teammates, the coaching staff and front office and they’ve all been “extremely understanding and supportive.”
“I wish nothing but the best for the entire Rockies organization and have let them know I am willing to do whatever I can to help them from afar,” Desmond wrote. “Thank you.”
Full-squad workouts are scheduled to begin Tuesday in Arizona. The Rockies already are without one big bat in the lineup after trading eight-time Gold Glove winner Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this month.
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Desmond is a career .263 hitter with 181 homers and 711 RBIs over an 11-year career with Washington, Texas and Colorado. He batted .255 with 20 homers in 140 games with Colorado in 2019.
Mostly a shortstop to start his career, he’s become a versatile player who can patrol the outfield or play first base.