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Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Ross opt out of playing in 2020 MLB season...

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Nationals’ veterans Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross decided to opt out of playing in the 60-game 2020 MLB season that will (apparently) be played amidst an ongoing pandemic...

MLB: Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres sJake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Zimmerman wrestled with the decision on whether or not to play baseball during the coronavirus pandemic in his latest “diary” entry for the Associated Press. “I’m still deciding whether to play,” Zimmerman wrote in the June 26th story, explaining that he considered it a question of making a decision in the best interest of both himself and his family.

“I have a 3-week-old baby,” Washington’s 35-year-old, 15-year veteran explained.

“My mother has multiple sclerosis and is super high-risk; if I end up playing, I can pretty much throw out the idea of seeing her until weeks after the season is over.”

Zimmerman signed a one-year/$2M deal with the Nationals this past winter, after a brief time as a free agent, coming off a season in which he helped Washington win the World Series in the final year of a 6-year/$100M deal he signed with the club back in 2012.

“After a great deal of thought and given my family circumstances — three young children, including a newborn, and a mother at high risk — I have decided not to participate in the 2020 season,” Zimmerman wrote in a statement released by his representatives today.

Read the full statement here:

Joining Zimmerman in opting out, according to multiple reports (now confirmed by the team) is Joe Ross, the 27-year-old pitcher who signed a one-year/$1.5M with the Nationals this past January, avoiding arbitration.

Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo released a statement on both players’ decision after the news hit the internet:

Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have decided not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. We are one hundred percent supportive of their decision to not play this year. We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field.”

Will more players follow Zimmerman and Ross? Reports this afternoon said Arizona D-Backs’ pitcher Mike Leake made the decision to opt out of playing this season as well. Will there be a 2020 MLB season? Should there be one with the latest numbers everyone is seeing on the continued spread of the coronavirus?

Zimmerman and Ross were included on the Nationals’ 60-Man Player Pool for the 2020 MLB campaign when it was released on Sunday, so they’ll be removed from that list now...