As of this morning, Nick Markakis officially announced his decision to sit out the upcoming 2020 season. The veteran Atlanta Braves outfielder is just one of the many players deciding to sit for the truncated season due to COVID-19.
Recently the MLB and MLBPA reached an agreement to have a 60-game season starting in July. The full 162-game season was scheduled to take place back in March, however due to the impact of COVID-19 the MLB and other leagues shut down operations in order to protect players and teams.
Although not as major as losing a player like Ronald Acuña Jr., Markakis was expected to have a big impact on the team and be a significant platoon player off the bench for the Braves.
The Braves will certainly miss his biggest impact in the locker room because Markakis is a solid veteran presence who is beloved in the locker room. The Braves still have veterans such as Freddie Freeman, who just tested positive for COVID-19, Tyler Flowers, and Ender Inciarte who can continue to provide veteran leadership. They will, however, need other players like Acuña, Hamels, and others to step up.
Prior to his injury in 2019, Markakis was having a very nice season as an everyday outfielder for the Braves. By the end of 2019, he still hit .285 in the box with 62 RBIs and was overall good defensively. His age and injury were a concern which led to Atlanta bringing in Marcell Ozuna to step into the everyday outfield role.
As other players and coaches alike are making their own decisions about opting in or out, the Braves will likely be faced with more questions as the season comes up. As of now Nick Markakis joins Felix Hernandez and first base coach Eric Young Sr. as Braves players and coaches who have decided to opt out. With the ongoing questions related to COVID-19, expect to hear more names sit out for Atlanta and all around the league.