The Kansas City Royals will be without 10 of the 26 players on their active roster for their four-game series in Toronto due to a Canadian ban on travelers who have not been vaccinated against, This series is starting from Thursday.
“Many teams have been affected by the sanctions, although the Royals have a larger contingent of unvaccinated players than any other team,” writes Matt Snyder of CBSSports.com.
Snyder continues, “So far every team that has visited the Jays in Toronto has a bunch of players who haven’t gotten the vaccine and are on the banned list, but that’s on another level.” “In fact, only 25 players in total have been placed on the banned list ahead of the series in Toronto for this reason, Report ESPN, The Royals will increase that number to 35 in one fell swoop.”
Manager Mike Matheny said on Wednesday that the club would be without hitters Andrew Benintendi, Hunter Dozier, Cam Gallagher, Kyle Isbell, MJ Melendez, Whit Merrifield and Michael A Taylor, along with pitchers Dylan Coleman, Brad Keller and Brady Singer.
The team will play four matches in Toronto. The 10 players will be placed on the banned list and forfeited four days’ pay and major league service time according to the terms of MLB’s collective bargaining agreement.
“It’s a personal choice,” Matheny said. “The organization has done a real good job of getting professionals and experts to talk people through tough conversations and then put it in their own hands to decide which is best for them and their families.”
Benintendi would lose $186,813, Merrifield $153,846, Keller $106,044, and Dossier and Taylor $98,901 each. Lost pay for Gallagher would be $19,451, Singer $15,962, Isbell $15,426, Coleman $15,399 and Melendez $15,385, among others.
The club will name his replacement on Thursday along with an announcement about other employees who will not be traveling with the club.
“What this presents now is an opportunity for some young people to step up who normally wouldn’t be here,” Matheny said. “It will affect what we’re doing rotation-wise and that’s another question we’ll have to answer later. I’m excited to have some people come and get a chance.”
The players cited personal decisions for themselves and their families as the reason behind their reasoning for not getting vaccinated.
“It was a choice I made to talk with my family, talk with my wife,” Merrifield said. “I didn’t think the risk was worth it, honestly.
“I don’t think COVID poses any threat to me,” he said.
Non-vaccinated players said they felt teammates supported their decisions.
“We’ve talked to these people, they’re not judging us at all,” Dossier said. “They have our backs. I don’t think we’ve ever done anything where we’re being forced to get a vaccine to play in Toronto. It’s just a weird situation. It’s unfortunate.”
“(The) staff, the owners, the GM, everyone, it’s really cool to see how they’re handling it,” Coleman said. “It’s not like being forced. I think we all have our own opinion, so it’s really cool that higher-ups respect that.”
Merrifield had a streak of 553 in the longest active games of the Major before being ruled out on Sunday with a leg injury. He said he might change his mind if a similar situation comes to the fore later in the year.
“That could turn down the road,” he said. “If something happens and I get into a team that has a chance to play in Canada post season, that might change. As we sit here now, I’m comfortable with my decision.”
John Schneider, the new manager of the Blue Jays, said his team would not take Kansas City lightly.
“Slightly surprising, but the rules are the rules. We live by them and the rest of the league is lived by them,” Schneider said in Toronto. “Definitely not a series that you’re going to take lightly. You see who they have, you plan the game accordingly, and hopefully this two-match series against the (Philadelphia) Phillies Build (sweep).”
Schneider was promoted from bench coach to interim manager for the remainder of the season when Toronto fired Charlie Montoyo on Wednesday.