Marlins infielder Isan Diaz has opted out of the 2020 season. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted yesterday that Diaz was considering such a decision, and the move became official last night when Miami placed Diaz on their restricted list. Diaz released a statement on his Instagram page:
“This has been a tough week to see so many of my teammates come down with the virus, and see how quickly it spreads. After much deliberation and thought, I have made the difficult choice of opting out for the remainder of the 2020 season. This has been a decision that I have discussed with my family, and I feel it’s the best one for me and my overall well-being. I will deeply miss my teammates and competing on the field. I wish my brothers the best and look forward to taking the field again with them soon!!”
Diaz is not one of the 18 Marlins players who have thus far tested positive for COVID-19. Given the widespread nature of the team’s outbreak, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if more Miami players joined Diaz in sitting out the 2020 campaign, though obviously circumstances and personal feelings are different for every individual.
With Nick Markakis choosing to end his opt-out and rejoin the Braves, that leaves 17 players who have decided to opt out of the 2020 season. Players who opt out for specific health-related seasons (such as Orioles righty Kohl Stewart, who has Type 1 diabetes) will still receive their full prorated salary and service time, while players without a personal health issue will forego their service time and remaining salary.
This is the case with Diaz, who is just his second year of Major League action. Ranked as a consensus top-100 prospect prior to the 2017 season, Diaz was one of the four prospects acquired by Miami in the blockbuster trade that sent Christian Yelich to the Brewers in January 2018. (This was already the second big trade of Diaz’s young career, as he came to the Brewers as part of the five-player swap that sent Jean Segura from Milwaukee to Arizona in January 2016.)
A .973 OPS in 435 Triple-A plate appearances in 2019 led to Diaz’s first MLB promotion last season, though he struggled in his first stint in the Show. Diaz hit only .173/.259/.307 over his first 201 PA for the Marlins, which could have been part of the reason why Miami acquired Jonathan Villar as its primary second baseman during the offseason. Since Villar is only under contract through the 2020 season, however, Diaz is still projected as Miami’s second baseman of the future.