According to a statement released by the team Monday through Twitter, "Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have decided not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health and safety of themselves and loved ones".
Joe Ross of the Nationals also chose to sit out the season for "personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones", according to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. Of course I would love to pursue back-to-back titles. "I can not speak for anyone else, but given the unusual nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family".
Zimmerman told The Associated Press on Friday that he was still weighing his options for the season.
"We are 100 per cent supportive of their decision to not play this year", Rizzo said.
"I have a 3-week-old baby", Zimmerman said. "I don't think there's a right or wrong answer; it's everybody's individual choice".
As part of his announcement, the 35-year-old Zimmerman said he's not retiring.
Zimmerman batted.257 with six home runs and 27 RBIs in 171 at-bats last season and had a dramatic home run in Game 1 of the World Series.
Ross, 27, made nine starts and appeared in 27 games for the Nationals in 2019, posting a 5.48 ERA with 57 strikeouts.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said the team supports players' decisions to focus on family during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Players who are not designated as high risk and who opt out for the health reasons of others, such as family members, will not automatically receive their pay and service time, although clubs have mechanisms available to award them both if they choose. Leake was due $5,555,556 U.S. as the prorated share of his $15 million salary.