The optimistic outlook for a potential 2020 season is that there can be at least around 70-80 games and everyone can show up happy and ready to play. However, that idea just may not be realistic.
There are some players who may just be too competitive to ever consider sitting out a season. Being on a dominant team would help achieve that mindset. Yet certain players on a rebuilding team like the Kansas City Royals may prefer to sit out in 2020 and have their money roll over into 2021, especially if Rob Manfred institutes the nuclear-option 50-game season. There may not be much to prove on a team more focused on developing young talent.
3. Ian Kennedy
Kennedy is 35 years old and has one year remaining on his five-year, $70 million contract. He signed as a starter but was bumped to the bullpen last season. His 30 saves were nothing to scoff at, but taking a prorated amount of his $16.5 million base salary may not be wise if he can't show off his abilities in a shortened season. There's also the potential his stock around the league is already low, making it far smarter to sit out and then collect his full salary in 2021.
2. Salvador Perez
Perez cashed in with the Royals before the 2016 season and is under contract for two more years. His annual salary is $13 million in each of the next two seasons and it will be tough to imagine him getting that type of money again after just turning 30 last month. Taking a year off to ensure he gets his full two years of salary is one reason to sit out. The other is that a full year off for a catcher could do wonders after all the wear and tear he's experienced. He's played in just 129 games in each of the past two years, so the extra time off could be wise to take.
1. Whit Merrifield
Merrifield became an everyday player in 2017 and just turned 31 years old this offseason. He signed a four-year, $16.25 million deal during the 2019 offseason and should make sure to earn as much as possible since this was his first contract outside of arbitration. The versatile Merrifield was set to earn $5 million this season, which is a nice chunk of his contract. Sitting out allows him to earn his full deal and also keeps him as a nice trade chip for the Royals. He could eventually be sent elsewhere and compete for a title and never lose a penny of his contract.