Dodgers with incentive to skip 2020 season: Players set to become free agents in 2021
While I think Mookie Betts, A.J. Pollock, and Kenley Jansen have the most pressing reasons to potentially skip a 50-game season, pretty much any player who is set to enter free agency in 2021 faces risk in returning to play, as Buster Olney noted to KNBR in San Francisco.
The question is whether Major League Baseball will allow players to opt out of the 2020 season while still accumulating service time. Based on a previous agreement, if the 2020 season was canceled, players would still receive their requisite service time to allow pending free agents to maintain their eligibility even without playing any games. If the season is played, and certain players opt-out, it remains to be negotiated how that would impact service time.
But assuming players who opt-out due to health concerns are still eligible to become free agents next offseason, Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, and Pedro Baez are all players who would be putting their health at risk just before they are hoping to get paid on the open market.
There are a few veteran players set to hit free agency in 2021, such as Justin Turner, and one-year signings Blake Treinen and Alex Wood. But all three have incentive to play. You can’t imagine Turner not showing up. And both Treinen and Wood are looking to prove they are worthy of another contract by their performance on the field this season.
In the end, I don’t expect to see many players on the Dodgers active roster who decide not to play in 2020, even if the season is truncated to only 50 games. But there are legitimate reasons why several players could consider just staying home.