Los Kansas Royals City reconfigured their roster on Thursday due to the casualties of 10 players who could not travel to Toronto for not having been vaccinated against the COVID-19while the club tried to mend its damaged image in front of the fans.
Andrew Benintendi, selected for the Game of Stars; two-time All-Star Whit Merrifield; and future pillars such as Kyle Isbel and MJ Melández, and outfielder Michael A. Taylor, are among the players who will stay at home of the 26 on the squad, that is, almost 40%.
Merrifield was the most forthcoming of the seven players who discussed his decision Wednesday. Merrifield noted that “if the vaccine did what it’s supposed to do and stop the spread of COVID, I’d be a little more willing to get it, but that’s not happening.”
Merrifield angered Royals fans when he noted that “if something happens and I’m on a team that has a chance to go play Canada in the postseason, maybe I’ll change” my mind. For many fans in Kansas City, the statement means Merrifield won’t get vaccinated while he’s with the Royals but he could on another team.
“That one doesn’t come from Whit’s heart. It doesn’t match who he is,” Royals president Dayton Moore said Thursday in an interview with a local radio show. “He was left in a situation that did not go well… He is very sorry for what he said.”
Later in the day, the club tweeted: “The Royals have hosted several free Vaccination events. COVID-19 in the community and encourages everyone to be vaccinated and protected so we can live fully in and out of baseball.”
In the message, which includes a link to the page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC for its acronym in English), it is stated that the vaccines have been shown to “reduce among fully vaccinated people the risk of contracting COVID-19including the risk of serious illness and death.
However, due to the new variants of omicron, the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in the last weeks.
The franchise’s image took a hit just as it seeks to build support for the construction of a new stadium in the center of the city — with an injection of public money — but is facing deep apathy from its fans. Only 11,016 fans watched the Royals win over Detroit on Wednesday.
Like Merrifield, Benintendi and Taylor could be trade pieces for the bottom-place AL Central. Vaccination status could affect what Kansas City intends to receive in return toward the Aug. 2 deadline.
“For me, it was a personal decision,” Benintendi said.
The other players unable to travel to Toronto included first baseman Hunter Dozier, right-handed pitchers Brad Keller and Brady Singer, reliever Dylan Coleman and backup catcher Cam Gallagher.
Pitching coach Cal Eldred, assistant hitting coach Keoni De Renne and bullpen catcher Parker Morin also did not travel.
Prior to the Kansas City 10, the total number of players from MLB discarded due to the vaccine requirement was 25. The most from a club was four. Except for two of the 35, all were born in the United States.
The 10 players will miss four days of pay and service Big leaguesin accordance with the terms of the collective contract of MLB.