The San Francisco Giants will be short a star catcher for their abbreviated, 60-game season beginning in two weeks, as Buster Posey just announced that he will be sitting this one out.
Posey, 33, and his wife of 11 years, Kristen, just completed the adoption of twin baby girls, born prematurely in recent weeks. And as the Associated Press reports, Posey is opting out of the season partly out of concern for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already impacted several teams and prompted a few other players to opt out as well.
The Poseys already have two children, and Posey said in a video statement that he only came to the decision after attending a couple of practices, and after the adoption was finalized on Thursday. The identical twin girls were born last Friday.
"The twins were born prematurely," Posey said. "Thank God they are doing really well. But they're going to have to be in the NICU for quite some time. And after my discussion with my wife and doctors, in a decision that I've wrestled with since the adoption came on the table... I've decided to opt out of the 2020 baseball season."
Here's Buster Posey's statement today announcing he and his wife Kristen have adopted twins and also saying he will opt out of the 2020 baseball season. pic.twitter.com/vYcP0Nib27— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) July 10, 2020
The decision means that Posey will forgo his salary for the year.
"I think it was kind of an obvious and easy call for Buster and I think the fact that he took the time to think it through shows his dedication and loyalty to his teammates and how much he loves the game and he loves to play,” said Giants’ president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, speaking to the Mercury News.
Longtime teammate and pal Hunter Pence tells the Merc, "It was a very difficult decision for him and two premature babies, this is life. I’m sure this is a long process and he had no idea what 2020 has had in store for us. We all just want to support him, let him know that we respect and honor him and we know that this is a very difficult decision for him and everyone at this time."
The Mercury News notes that Posey is now the highest-profile player to opt out of the season due to coronavirus concerns. Elsewhere in Major League Baseball, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price, Arizona pitcher Mike Leake, and Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman have also opted out of playing.
There could be more. As a Chronicle sports columnist writes today, "There are players privately sharing Posey’s willingness to just stay home, and it cuts straight to the heart when one of the game’s true mainstays addresses what’s really happening in this country. It’s more important than a pennant race, a sense of clubhouse brotherhood or adding statistics to the resume. It’s just the right thing to do, and none of us should be surprised if more high-profile players come forward."
Over the weekend, the Giants's "summer camp" workouts at Oracle Park had to be suspended as all staff and team members underwent COVID testing. All tests in the latest batch were negative, and workouts resumed on Wednesday — but a total of four team and staff members have tested positive, including outfield prospect Hunter Bishop, who remained in Arizona to quarantine.
The American and National Leagues will be doing a lot more inter-league play this season in order to limit the amount of travel that each team has to do. In addition to playing 10 games each against each other National League West team, they'll play four games each against the five American League West teams, including the A's.
The Giants' first game of the short season will be July 23 against the Dodgers, in L.A.