Houston Astros’ RP Joe Smith opts-out of 2020 MLB season

By Matt Johnson
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros relief pitcher Joe Smith is opting out of the 2020 MLB season, becoming the latest player to sit out this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Astros’ relief pitcher Joe Smith opts-out of MLB season

The Astros will be without Smith, their right-hand reliever, this season with the 36-year-old sitting out due to the health risks of playing during the pandemic.

The news, first reported by The Athletic’s Jim Bowden, makes Smith the 14th player to elect not to play this season due to the health crisis.

https://twitter.com/JimBowdenGM/status/1283376549253787650?s=20

Houston’s bullpen will take a hit after an offseason that saw them lose set-up man Will Harris. The club had re-signed Smith to a two-year, $8 million contract this offseason.

Smith was one of the most effective relievers in baseball during the 2019 season, recording a 1.80 ERA and 0.95 WHIP across 25 innings.

What MLB players are sitting out the 2020 season?

MLB’s Opening Day is set to begin on July 23, with teams making their final preparations for the 60-game season. However, baseball continues to see a wave of players exercising the opt-out clause due to the risks of playing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

MLB also recently learned that 11 umpires will not take part in the upcoming season. The league could be in danger of seeing even more personnel sit out if the pandemic worsens.