Forgive Yankees fans for not accepting Juan Soto's Mexico excuse

MLB Spring Training Game New York Yankees Against Toronto Blue Jays
MLB Spring Training Game New York Yankees Against Toronto Blue Jays / VIEW press/GettyImages

It's only March, but the Yankees' communication is already in midseason form.

In the latest example of New York's brass dancing around an issue -- or dancing, forcefully, arousing suspicion that they might be covering up an issue, even if no issue is to be found -- Aaron Boone excused Juan Soto from the team's upcoming trip to Mexico, citing the slugger's desire to work on his swing in Tampa.

Have you seen Soto's swing? Pretty good swing. Hall of Fame swing. If that swing needs work, the rest of the roster should probably stay behind, too.

And yet ... here we are. That's where the discourse lies, with so many other real things still up in the air, before a global exhibition showcase.

Yankees star Juan Soto will work on his swing instead of traveling to Mexico City

A statement this innocuous literally wouldn't raise a sliver of an eyebrow in any other organization, but ... after being told Aaron Judge's "two at-bats" had nothing to do with an injury concern -- then watched MRI results be casually revealed -- it's worth noting.


1. The Yankees didn't want him to go.

2. Juan Soto didn't want to go.

3. He's nursing something.

Those are your three options. None of them should be a major deal, unless the third involves an ailment that threatens his Opening Day readiness (welcome to the club!). But there is no way -- absolutely no way -- that Soto is still working on his swing, devilishly toiling in the lab until he can uncork something that meets his expectations. "Ooh, if they think they've seen a swing from Juan Soto ... just wait! Just. Wait. This new one's a doozy!"

Soto can, of course, get batting practice reps and put on a show in Mexico. He can also travel to Mexico and continue honing his craft in private. He is also more than welcome to stay home! A preseason exhibition south of the border is certainly pretty unnecessary, in the grand scheme of things, even if Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Trevino and Omar Minaya all fought for the game to happen.

Soto's also far from the only Yankee to disappear from the traveling party late in the game; Aaron Boone passive-aggressively groused about it with a twinkle in his eye after Friday's win.

He's got big-league roster decisions to make. He's got injuries to manage. He doesn't want to deal with players hopping in and out of the Mexico Eligibility Pool, either (and, to be fair, nobody really wants to face Trevor Bauer, do they?).

But Soto -- at least, the Soto we've seen -- doesn't have many kinks left to work out in his powerhouse swing. His absence, if he isn't the only one, doesn't even really need to be addressed. And yet ... here we are. Addressing it without really addressing it at all, kicking over a can of worms in the process. "Those aren't even our worms! We don't own that can!" Sir, your name is on it.

Pride. Power. Pointless panic and paranoia. Pinstripes.