The makeup of the Yankees playoff roster must be announced by next week. Like everything else this year, it’s about jumping through hoops.
The Yankees playoff roster in most years boils down to the “no-brainers” plus the last two or three players that will stay with the team for the duration.
Not this year, though. MLB’s COVID-19 precautionary quarantine rules have Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman in an uproar.
Not only does Cashman need to come up with the usual active roster (28 players this year), but he also has to select twelve players from the team’s taxi squad of players (currently 29) who will stay behind at the Yankees alternate-training site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
It’s About More Than The 28-Man Yankees Playoff Roster
As if that isn’t enough to deal with, Cashman must also select a 50-person support staff that will accompany the team.
These would be clubhouse attendants, medical and training personnel, bus drivers, travel and media specialists, and the like.
Typically, Cashman is rolling through these challenges with a calm demeanor, offering:
That rosy view is shared by the Yankee players who are assured of making the Yankees playoff roster of regulars.
While they are not welcoming the possibility of being separated from their families and holed up in a hotel room for up to six weeks, they can see the opportunity to share postseason money, together with a chance to win that elusive 28th World Title.
But what about the 29 players who are currently assigned to the Taxi-Squad in Scranton?
“Hell no, I Won’t Go”: Yankees Taxi-Squad Opt-Outs.
Cashman is currently making the rounds among them, and not so surprisingly, he’s finding some who are saying – “Hell no, I won’t go”.
Hopefully, Cashman will find twelve who say yes, and that will be that. But, he also understands and has compassion for those who are opting out. Family separation and quarantined living aren’t the only issues facing these players.
Taxi-Squad players have no guarantee of either getting on (the Yankees playoff roster) or winning a prize at the end or getting voted a (playoffs) share.
Still, Brian Cashman’s first loyalties remain with the Yankees, and he finds himself in a position where he has to tell his players in limbo there’s no in-between for them:
“Everybody’s doing the best they can, but I’d be lying to tell you it was not a significant challenge to walk through. We’ve had to tell people they’re either in the alternate site or they’re out of the alternate side”.
In typical fashion, Cashman has refused to name the players who have already opted out. But once the Yankees playoff roster is officially announced, it’ll be easy to tell if some high-profile names are missing.
That list includes names like Albert Abreu, Clarke Schmidt, Thairo Estrada (photo above), Mike Ford, Miguel Andujar, and Estevan Florial. That is assuming, of course, they do not make the Yankees playoff roster containing the active 28 players.
2020 Playoffs: A Test Of Endurance As Much As Skill
Some fans and media types are lobbying hard for Commissioner Manfred to order an asterisk placed in the record books next to the team winning the World Series this year.
That is nonsense. In fact, if an asterisk is to be placed, it should be there to commemorate the team who stands alone as having overcome hurdle after hurdle, and a test of endurance like no other season in baseball history.
Yes, we know. They’re doing it for the money, and for most, a lot of money.
But we also know about the players who were forced to use their hotel rooms as an “alternate training site” to stay in shape because they were only allowed at the ballpark during regulated timeframes.
Cardinal’s pitcher, Jack Flaherty, joked about it – but it’s true. Flaherty posted a video to his Instagram Story about having some baseballs ready for the bullpen session.
Major League Baseball is doing what it has to do. Joking about all the restraints put on them, professional ballplayers always find a way to relieve the stress and pressure.
Anyone of us would gladly trade places with them. Or so we think. But in the real world, would the choice be that easy?
Putting The Asterisk Where It Belongs
Those who make the Yankees playoff roster, the Taxi-Squad players, and even those who travel with the team as essential personnel makes sacrifices.
Hopefully, when Zack Britton, the Yankees player rep, calls the team together to vote on how postseason money is shared, exceptions will be made to include all members of the Yankees Family who participated.
That may be getting ahead of ourselves a bit here, but this baseball season has been different in too many ways to count – and this is just another way of putting an asterisk where it belongs.