According to a tweet from his agent, longtime Mariners ace Félix Hernández will opt out of the 2020 season, looking to start up again once there are fewer health risks present.
Felix hernandez con miedo al COVID-19 ,no jugará en la temporada 2020 , Felix hernandez with fear of Covid -19 does not feel well to play in the 2020 season— Wilfredo Polidor (@wpolidor19) July 5, 2020
The King’s one-year contract with Atlanta was a minor league deal, which would have paid him $1 million in a full season, for a possible maximum of around $370k at 60-game prorated rates. Hernández made the decision following yesterday’s team workouts. Jon Heyman reported a secondary source last night, with a friend of the Hernández family reporting Félix wanted to protect himself and his family from unneeded exposure.
Felix Hernandez decided to opt out to protect himself and his family from Covid 19, a friend said— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 5, 2020
The team confirmed the reports this morning. According to Atlanta manager Brian Snitker, the organization supports Hernández in his decision fully, and does not know if he intends to pitch again in 2021. While The King had struggled mightily in recent years, he was competing for the 5th starter role in Atlanta, with a good chance of securing it before the season shut down in the spring. Hernández will be a free agent once again, likely looking to secure a minor league deal with incentives in a similar fashion as this winter.