Five-time all-star pitcher David Price said today he would opt out of playing this season for the Los Angeles Dodgers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Dear Dodgers Nation,” Price posted on Twitter. “After considerable thought and discussion with my family and the Dodgers, I have decided it is in the best interest of my health and my family’s health for me to not play this season. I will miss my teammates and will be cheering for them throughout the season and on to a World Series victory. I’m sorry I won’t be playing for you this year but look forward to representing you next year.
“Stay safe, be well and be kind. And Go Dodgers!”
The Dodgers issued a statement saying they “fully support David’s decision to sit out the 2020 season.”
“We have been in constant contact with David and we understand how much this deliberation weighed on him and his family,” the statement said.
“We know he’ll be rooting hard for the club every day and look forward to having him back with us in 2021.”
Price reported to the team Wednesday “and was of the mind that he was going to play and then talking to his family, he arrived at this point,” Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman told reporters on a Zoom call Saturday.
When asked if he was surprised by Price’s decision, Friedman responded, “Everyone’s internalizing what’s going on differently. I don’t know if there are any right or wrong answers at this point.
“It’s something that I know has been on his mind for a while now,” Friedman said. “I think the allure of playing with his teammates that Dave created a great bond with in spring training was kind of pushing him to do it, but ultimately, it just got to a point he wasn’t comfortable.”
Major League Baseball and the players’ union are holding “ongoing discussions” about whether players like Price who opt out of playing will be paid, Friedman said.
“Whatever the agreement is, however they play out, is what we’llabide by,” Friedman said.
Friedman said it was not clear if Price will be allowed to return to the team this season.
Friedman said he does not expect any other Dodgers to opt out of playing but added “things are fluid.”
The 34-year-old Price was acquired from the Boston Red Sox in a five-player trade Feb. 10 that also brought the Dodgers four-time all-star outfielder Mookie Betts and cash considerations in exchange for outfielder Alex Verdugo, minor league infielder Jeter Downs and minor league catcher Connor Wong.
Price was the American League’s 2012 Cy Young Award winner and led the AL in ERA in 2012 and 2015. He was 7-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 2019 and 150-80 lifetime with a 3.31 ERA.