[OK, fine, and also Brian Cashman.]
With a roster a generous person could currently classify as “full of holes,” the Yankees can’t really survive more than a few disastrous injury stings and still remain competitive in 2022 — at least, not as fully constructed.
Therefore, it’s fair to be preemptively frustrated about what appears to be an unforced error coming around the bend.
On Jan. 15, and for the foreseeable future, unvaccinated athletes will no longer be allowed to cross the Canadian border, spurred on by the unencumbered spread of Omicron.
That would leave the Yankees, uh, significantly short in a crucial slate of AL East showdowns.
Yankees could lose all unvaccinated players for Toronto Blue Jays series.
OK, full disclosure: of course the Blue Jays are at a bigger disadvantage here, as they’ll have a Kyrie Irving-like decision to make regarding any unvaccinated players on their roster. Send potential stars home for a year, or use them for 81 road games per season?
Or, perhaps, Toronto can argue for the same sort of weird baked-in exemption that the city of Boston has given to its basketball players.
We write about the New York Yankees, though, so it’s worth focusing on which Bombers could potentially be held out of action in three crucial road divisional series this year.
When Aaron Judge tested positive for COVID-19 over the summer of 2021, he missed more time than his teammates, players we know were vaccinated. When asked point-blank about this discrepancy, Judge refused to confirm whether he had received the shot, stating, “I’m not going to get into that,” he replied. “It’s something I like to keep talking to my doctor about.”
Upon intake to facilitate his return to the team in late July, Judge was further delayed by some “appointments.” Were those simply protocol? Were they Shot 1 of Pfizer or Moderna? We simply don’t know, but it’d be nice to get the 411 there with the Toronto mandate approaching.
And then there’s Anthony Rizzo, who might be re-signed and declared his discomfort with vaccination last summer before he was acquired, due to the unknown and his previous cancer treatments.
Late September last year, the Yankees rallied against Blue Jays ace Robbie Ray behind home runs from Rizzo and Judge in the game that ultimately made the difference between making the Wild Card and missing out on October baseball entirely.
This year, as of this moment, such a rally would not be possible.
Brief solace can be taken in the fact that the Yankees are not the Red Sox and are not below the 85% vaccination threshold, but that solace will only last a few minutes once you realize how monumental the potential losses could be. Year 3 of the coronavirus directly affecting a team’s chances to win a title … as soon as the Gerrit Cole signing became official, things really went off the rails in the wildest way possible, huh?