MLB Analyst: More Players Could Opt Out After Marlins’ Outbreak

If two or three teams experience a COVID-19 outbreak like Miami’s, the 2020 MLB season could be suspended or canceled, Jon Heyman says

Tiki and Tierney
July 27, 2020 - 7:22 pm
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Three games into the 2020 MLB season, multiple games have already been canceled due to COVID-19, this after at least 14 Miami Marlins tested positive for the virus.

Major League Baseball does not intend to suspend or cancel the season as a result of the outbreak, but that outcome could eventually be on the table.

While the season will continue, at least as of now, the Marlins’ outbreak could give other players pause.

“I think there will be more opt-outs,” MLB Network insider Jon Heyman said on Tiki & Tierney. “I’m not sure this will do it. The Marlins probably don’t have a lot of players that are in that category that will opt out. I generally believe . . . it’s going to be veteran players who don’t need the service time or the money who are going to opt out. . . . It certainly is on that path where we will see more people opting out.”

Four Marlins players—catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielders Garrett Cooper and Harold Ramirez, and pitcher Jose Urena—tested positive for COVID-19 during the team’s season-opening series in Philadelphia. Another 10 Marlins—eight players, two coaches—have since tested positive as well.

“If there’s two or three more teams like this and we start seeing many opt-outs, that may lead to the pause, suspension, or even the stopping of the season,” Heyman said. “But right now, with it just being the Marlins, it’s one team – it’s really a bad, bad situation. I’m not trying to sugarcoat it or anything like that. But with one team, I don’t know that we’re going to see opt-outs yet. 

“But if it starts to be two and three teams and people are getting sick, I think that’s the real issue,” Heyman continued. “We have a lot of asymptomatic players or players with some symptoms but aren’t really in a dire health situation. That’s probably not going to cause it, but if there are some players who are really having issues with their health, [that could change things].”

Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, for example, is dealing with heart-related complications stemming from COVID-19.

“They said it was a mild situation with Eduardo Rodriguez, but it involves his heart,” Heyman said. “That, to me, is concerning. That kind of thing is something that could trigger a few opt-outs, and I don’t blame anybody who opts out. There certainly is a risk involved.”