If the Mets play the Blue Jays in the World Series, things could get sticky as they still have multiple stars who remain unvaccinated, according to sources. The Mets had enough players so strongly against vaccination last year that a couple other Mets stars who were vaccinated acted reluctant to admit it publicly, according to people in the know.
Like the Mets, the Phillies were one of six teams not to reach the 85 percent vaccination rate last year, and J.T. Realmuto, Alec Bohm, Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson went on the restricted list rather than get vaccinated and go to Toronto for their regular-season series, and there’s at least one more Phillies star who’s said to be unvaccinated. A couple of the Phillies have medical reasons, but no player has tried yet to receive a medical exemption. Obviously, a World Series would be a bigger deal to miss, and there’s still time, as players only need to be vaccinated two weeks in advance. Unvaccinated players may have to choose: get vaccinated or miss the World Series.
“We, of course, want our whole team together,” Phillies baseball president Dave Dombrowski texted in response. “But we have not discussed this topic yet. Right now, we are focused on trying to make the playoffs.”
The Jays may have an edge on a couple AL teams, too. Ex-Jay Robbie Ray was said unvaccinated when the Mariners traveled to Toronto, but Ray pitched the day before the trip and didn’t travel to Toronto. It isn’t known whether he (or the Phillies for that matter) remains unvaccinated, though no one has mentioned any change in status yet. Entering Thursday, the Jays would play the Mariners in the first round, and all three games could be in Toronto if they are the fourth seed (one-half game separates the teams).
L.A. Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong is reported by Spotrac to be considering a bid for the Angels, and if he gets them it’d be nice to see the paper cover the Angels like it should. The Angels have the most amazing player in decades in Shohei Ohtani and the best player over the last decade in Mike Trout. Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are another possible buyer, as is a big, unnamed Japanese company. Likely price: $2.5 billion.
While Ohtani is incredible, there should be no doubt Aaron Judge is MVP. And for the last time, there is no East Coast bias. No Met has ever won the MVP, and Alex Rodriguez (2005, 2007) is the only Yankee to win in the last 37 years.
Anthony Rendon is working out but not expected back until next year.
It was reported here Tony La Russa was hoping to return to manage this week after attending legendary A’s pitcher Dave Stewart’s No. 34 retirement ceremony. He did fly back with the White Sox, however he still doesn’t have the go-ahead from doctors to resume managing. Complicating matters, the underachieving team has done better under Miguel Cairo.
La Russa was completely the hire of owner Jerry Reinsdorf. While front office honchos Rick Hahn and Ken Williams are handling it professionally, he wasn’t their guy (or probably anyone else’s guy). A.J. Hinch might have been hired if baseball ops had the call.