Eighteen players have opted out of the 2020 Major League Baseball season, some of them more accomplished than Lorenzo Cain.
None are as vital or as valuable to their current team, though, than Lorenzo Cain.
Cain opted out of the 2020 season after playing in just five games, the Milwaukee Brewers announced Saturday, and his is perhaps the most jarring decision among a star-studded opt-out group that includes former MVPs and World Series champions like Buster Posey, David Price and Ryan Zimmerman.
“After careful consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to opt out of the remainder of the 2020 season,” Cain said in a statement Saturday. “With all of the uncertainty and unknowns surrounding our game at this time, I feel that this is the best decision for me, my wife, and our three kids.
“The Brewers organization was very understanding and supportive of my decision, and I thank them for that. I wish all of my great teammates the best of luck this season and look forward to getting back on the field in 2021. Please stay safe.”
Cain, a 34-year-old two-time All-Star, is the starting center fielder for the Brewers, who have reached the playoffs each of the past two seasons. He’s in the third year of a five-year, $80 million contract and in opting out, will sacrifice some $5 million in salary.
But his opt-out comes at a time when the Brewers’ season is paused after just six games, as their home opener against St. Louis was scrapped Friday after multiple Cardinals tested positive for the coronavirus.
With more positive tests emerging Saturday, the three-game series is likely jeopardized, amid the backdrop of the entire MLB season hanging in the balance as the league navigates outbreaks on the Cardinals and Miami Marlins.
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And now the players are starting to speak to the validity of this season with their actions.
Cain is the third player to opt out in 24 hours, joining Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kohl Stewart – who is Type 1 diabetic – and Marlins infielder Isan Diaz.
Cain won a Gold Glove in 2019, his first season with the Brewers, and had six hits in his first 18 at-bats in this abbreviated season. Cain, married and the father of three young children, has no reported underlying conditions.
“Lorenzo Cain has informed us that he will not participate for the remainder of the 2020 season,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said in a statement. “We fully support Lorenzo’s decision, and will miss his talents on the field and leadership in the clubhouse.”