We’re hearing from Lorenzo Cain after the Brewers announced earlier today he was opting out of the 2020 season. The Brewers released a public statement on Cain’s behalf, explaining his decision to opt out after playing in 5 of the Brewers’ first 6 games.
“After careful consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to opt out of the remainer of the 2020 season. With all of the uncertainty and unknowns surrounding our game at this time, I feel that this is the best decision for me, my wife, and our three kids. The Brewers organization was very understanding and supportive of my decision, and I thank them for that. I wish all of my great teammates the best of luck this season and look forward to getting back on the field in 2021. Please stay safe.”
In a Zoom call with reporters after the decision, GM David Stearns says this wasn’t necessarily a sudden decision:
In talking with Cain, Stearns said, "He felt this was something he needed to do. With completely respect the decision. This is something Lorenzo had been thinking about and discussing with his family for some time. This is the first he brought it to our attention."— Tom (@Haudricourt) August 1, 2020
Stearns said Cain did not specifically mention Marlins or Cardinals in making his decision to opt out: "This is something he had been considering, thinking about, discussing with his family. It got to the point where he was ready to make his decision."— Tom (@Haudricourt) August 1, 2020
While far from the most important thing about this situation — that would be the longterm health of Cain and his family — Stearns did confirm that Cain was giving up the prorated salary he would’ve earned by opting out since he was not considered a high-risk player. That means Cain will have two years remaining on his contract when he returns in 2021, assuming there is a season then.
Other All-Stars have opted out of playing this year, but Cain is among the first to opt out after previously playing. His stature as a highly-respected veteran might end up clearing the way for other players to do the same, with the largely positive reaction to his decision and the support of his organization showing it’s ok to do so — and not seen as bailing out on teammates.