Just a couple days after the Atlanta Braves found out potential starting rotation member Felix Hernandez would not be continuing the 2020 season, veteran outfielder Nick Markakis announced today that he, too, would bow out.
Hernandez was on the edge of making the team, but Markakis is a guy who has played in 752 of Atlanta's 810 regular season games dating back to 2015. Even with a loaded outfield that features Ronald Acuña Jr., Marcell Ozuna, Ender Inciarte and Adam Duvall, Markakis was going to get plenty of starts, likely both on the outfield and as a designated hitter.
In announcing his decision to sit out what would have been his 15th Big league season, Markakis said talking to Freddie Freeman after his recent COVID-19 diagnosis opened his eyes.
It sure looks like we're starting to see that even if MLB is able to get its ducks in a row and play a season — getting teams their test results back in less than a week would be a good place to start — that it is going to be radically different than any one we've seen before. While Markakis is not a perennial All-Star, he's one of the most respected guys in baseball and I'm sure his decision will have an impact throughout the game.
I hate this for Markakis and the Braves because this should have been a season in which Atlanta was a World Series favorite in the National League and he has been a constant through both three-straight 90-loss seasons and two consecutive division titles. But obviously this season will be anything but normal — if it happens at all — and I totally respect his decision to do what he feels is best for himself and his family.
We haven't seen any superstars bail on this season yet, but I have a feeling Nick Markakis will not be the biggest name we see step away from Major League Baseball in 2020.