Players earning big money on rebuilding teams are not going to have much incentive to play in 2020 if Rob Manfred uses the nuclear option and enacts a 50-game season.
The Detroit Tigers are one clear example of a team that may just want to develop young players in a shortened season. This offers up a perfect excuse for several veterans on the team to stay home and have their contracts roll over to 2021. This may make the front office groan, but the option is the right move for three players in particular.
3. C.J. Cron
Cron signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers this past offseason, then the Tigers drafted their first baseman of the future in Spencer Torkelson. A shortened year for Cron would not only lose him money, but one can expect there will be little demand for him if he doesn't have a dominant 50-game stretch. Sitting out to earn his full salary and using a 162-game campaign to prove his worth is the right move.
2. Jordan Zimmermann
Zimmermann has been a bit of a disaster since signing a five-year, $110 million with the Tigers before the 2016 season. He went 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA last season and Tigers fans are likely ready for him to be gone. However, he was set to earn $25 million this year in the final year of his albatross contract. The obvious move is to sit out and not receive a prorated salary. He is not going to get anywhere close to his 2016 deal and should just rest and get that $25 million next year at the age of 35.
1. Miguel Cabrera
Cabrera joins Zimmerman atop the payroll with the difference being the slugger is under contract through 2023. There are also two mutual options from 2024-2025 that have about a 0% chance of being exercised. Cabrera is owed over $120 million from 2020-2023 and would lose a good chunk of his $30 million salary by playing in a shortened season. One extra year of Cabrera is not good for the books in Detroit, but it's a no-brainer move for the 11-time All-Star.