"Over the last few months, I've had tough conversations," Desmond wrote. "I've asked a lot of questions and done a lot of thinking. For now, I've decided to opt out of the 2021 season. My desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back and play baseball under these circumstances. I'm going to continue to train and watch how things unfold."
The 35-year-old was one of several players who opted out of the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a wide range of systemic issues within MLB. He's now the first player to opt out in 2021.
The veteran slugger adds that he's at peace with his decision.
"This impacts a lot of people, some positively and some negatively, and I own that," he continued. "At the end of the day, this weighs on me more than anyone but I'm following my heart and I feel good about my decision.
"I've let my teammates know, as well as the coaching staff and front office, and they have all been extremely understanding and supportive. I wish nothing but the best for the entire Rockies organization and have let them know I am willing to do whatever I can to help them from afar."
Desmond was slated to earn $8 million this season. The Rockies hold a $15-million club option on him for 2022 with a $2-million buyout.