Rumor has it that if the 2020 MLB season begins, several big-name, high-priced veterans might sitting out the season. This begs the question of whether or not any Baltimore Orioles would?
ESPN’s MLB expert, Buster Olney, shared that several players who are approaching lucrative free-agency at the end of 2020 might just choose to opt out of playing. Olney offered up the idea that players like Mookie Betts and George Springer might choose to sit out in 2020. With only 50 games, the risk might not be worth the reward.
Olney likened it to college football players who choose to sit out bowl games before the NFL combines and drafts. The risk of injury in a meaningless game isn’t worth it for them.
Olney said about MLB veterans entering free agency:
"“Fifty games, small sample size, what if you get hurt? What if you get a pretty serious injury? … What if you bat .200 in a 50-game sample and you don’t have the ability to dig your way out of that hole?”"
Baseball players are creatures of habit and routine. When you’re watching 95 MPH pitches every day, you get better at hitting them. Not seeing them can reduce their effectiveness at the plate.
Chris Davis is not a free agent at the end of the 2020 season. His free agency begins after the 2022 season. So, would Davis choose to skip out on the 2020 season – if it gets started?
It doesn’t seem like it would be Davis’s best interest. After his pathetic 2018 season with the world batting average in the league, and his mediocre 2019 season, he has something to prove. Many baseball players are overpaid, but he regularly is at the top of the list when comparing performance and value. A short season might be just what Davis needs.
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Alex Cobb is another veteran with a relatively expensive contract – by Orioles standards. He pitching in three games and posting an ERA over 10, if Cobb can pitch, he should. He enters free agency after the 2021 season, and as the Orioles only true veteran pitcher, he needs to show fans he can throw.
The one player who could choose to sit out is Jose Iglesias. He has a one-year contract and has been prone to injuries in the past. The Orioles have young players who would benefit from a short season at shortstop. On the other hand, Iglesias most likely wants to play more baseball. He’s only 30 years old. But, he is what he is, and has been that way for several years. He’s not surprising anyone anymore.
If the big name players do choose to sit out for the season, things could turn in the Orioles favor. As a team with unproven talent, they could have more chances for success if they don’t have to face the likes of soon-to-be free agents like Marcus Semien, Michael Brantley, Giancarlo Stanton (who has an opt-out clause), Corey Kluber, James Paxton, and Charlie Morton.