Rockies' Ian Desmond Opts Out of 2021 MLB Season; Forgoes $13.56M Past 2 Years

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IFebruary 21, 2021

Colorado Rockies' Ian Desmond tosses his bat away as he heads to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

For the second year in a row, the Colorado Rockies will be without outfielder Ian Desmond, who announced Sunday he would opt out of the 2021 season.

"For now, I've decided to opt out of the 2021 season," Desmond wrote in an Instagram story (h/t ESPN). "My desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back and play baseball under these circumstances. I'm going to continue to train and watch how things unfold."

The 35-year-old also sat out the 2020 season, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and frustration about racism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, according to Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post

Desmond would have made $8 million for the 2021 campaign, a year after forgoing what would have been $5.56 million of a prorated salary.

Regarding his future, the Rockies have a $15 million option on the veteran for 2022 or can buy him out of his deal for $2 million.

"I've let my teammates know, as well as the coaching staff and the front office, and they have all been extremely understanding and supportive," Desmond wrote. "I wish nothing but the best for the entire Rockies organization and have let them know I am willing to do whatever I can to help them from afar."

In his last season, Desmond hit .255 with 20 home runs through 140 outings in 2019.

A two-time All-Star, Desmond spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Washington Nationals and had a yearlong stint with the Texas Rangers before he joined the Rockies in 2017.

When he opted out in 2020, Desmond, who is biracial, wrote he intended to care for his family, including his wife Chelsey, who was pregnant with their fifth child, while working to revive the Little League program in his native Sarasota, Florida. 

"It's what I can do, in the scheme of so much," he wrote last summer (h/t NBC Sports Washington). "So, I am."