Desmond announced Sunday that he intends to opt out of the upcoming season "for now," Robert Murray of FanSided.com reports. The "for now" seemingly implies that Desmond could reconsider later in the season, perhaps depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic develops. He may have found himself as a reserve outfielder had he chosen to play. Desmond also opted out last year and will be 36 years old next season. At that point, he'll have been out of the league for two full years (assuming he doesn't opt back in) and will be six years removed from his most recent above-average batting line, so it can't be ruled out that he's already had his last big-league at-bat.
Desmond announced Monday via his personal Instagram account that he won't play in 2020 for personal reasons. Desmond will opt to sit out the 2020 season once play resumes to focus on civil rights issues and out of concerns about playing during the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming the fourth known player to do so. The 34-year-old has an expectant wife and four young children, and he outlined his concerns of playing during the pandemic. He was only expected to play against left-handed pitchers, so there will likely only be minor bumps in playing time for Sam Hilliard, Raimel Tapia, Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers.
Desmond figures to get most of his starts in left field against left-handed pitchers when the season gets underway, Kyle Newman of The Denver Post reports. He hit .297/.350/.626 against lefties last year while hitting .226/.282/.375 against righties. Desmond has been worth negative fWAR in all three seasons he has played for the Rockies, but with him guaranteed $25 million over the next few seasons, he will figure into things in some way. It sounds like Raimel Tapia, who had a good spring, could start against right-handed pitchers, with Sam Hilliard serving as a wild card on the outfield depth chart.
Desmond is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Brewers. Desmond will be given a breather in the season finale after he played the hero in Colorado's 3-2 win Saturday. The veteran notched his fourth triple and reached 20 home runs for the third time in four seasons in the victory, but his .255/.310/.479 slash line is still fairly underwhelming for a player making $15 million. Desmond still has one year remaining on his contract beyond this season along with a $15 million club option ($2 million buyout) for 2022.
Desmond went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a triple in Saturday's 3-2 extra-inning win over the Brewers. After riding pine for three straight games, Desmond provided a multi-hit effort. He wasn't able to score after a leadoff triple in the sixth inning, but he made sure to get the Rockies on the board with the solo shot off Brewers reliever Drew Pomeranz in the eighth. Desmond secured his sixth 20-homer campaign in 11 seasons with the blast. The 34-year-old has added 65 RBI, 64 runs scored and four triples in 139 games this year.
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