In a powerful Instagram statement, the 34-year-old said he preferred to stay at home with his pregnant wife and four children rather than risk his health to play baseball in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
He also addressed concerns about a wide range of other systemic issues within Major League Baseball.
"Our team is very supportive of him, always have been," Arenado told The Athletic's Nick Groke. "This won't change a thing. I respect Ian and I always have, always will."
With the decision, Desmond forfeits the prorated portion of the $15-million salary he was expected to earn and leaves a void on a Rockies club itching to get back into contention in what is expected to be a tough West division.
"We have Des' back, he means a lot to our team and we will miss him," Story told Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. "He has our full support. He will still play a big part of what we do this year, I know that."
Desmond, a two-time All-Star, signed a five-year contract with the Rockies before the 2017 season. He owns a .252/.313/.429 slash line with 49 home runs and 193 RBIs for Colorado across three seasons.