Dodgers' David Price Calls Opting out of 2020 MLB Season His 'Toughest Decision'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12:  Mookie Betts #50 and David Price
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher David Price has opted to sit out the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, though it wasn't a decision he came to lightly. 

"It was the toughest decision I've had to make, knowing I'm making the right decision for myself and my family," he told Bob Nightengale of USA Today via text message. "We've been in conversation [with the Dodgers] for a long time about all of this."

Price's decision isn't surprising. Many players are conflicted about being away from their families during a pandemic. 

"I think there's still some doubt that we're going to have a season now," St. Louis Cardinals reliever Andrew Miller told Nightengale. "By no means is this a slam dunk. We're trying, we're going to give it our best effort, but for me to sit here and say 100 percent would be a lie."

"I'd be surprised if you asked any player, if they gave you a hard-line, 'No way, I'm not going to opt out ever' answer," San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey added.

As more players test positive for COVID-19, anxiety is growing among the player base, Nightengale reported. For Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle, what he feels have been inadequate testing standards is exacerbating those anxieties:

Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle @whatwouldDOOdo

I don’t know who needs to hear this but I brought these things up because I want to play. I want there to be a season. And I want everyone to be as safe as possible. The sooner we figure these things out, the better chance we have to resume the 2020 season. https://t.co/PaTtizVG1w

Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle @whatwouldDOOdo

But we need help to make this work. Faster test results, PPE for high risk individuals and players/staff with high risk family members. The individual efforts have been great so far but we can’t rely solely on individuals. The efforts have to be structural as well.

As for the implications of losing Price if the season does resume as expected, it's a tough loss for a Dodgers team with World Series aspirations. The 34-year-old was 7-5 with a 4.28 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 128 strikeouts in 107.1 innings last season (22 starts). 

He's no longer the ace he was during his prime, but he's a solid, postseason-experienced starter. But for Price—and perhaps for other players as well—any potential risks to himself and family due to the coronavirus weren't worth playing this season.