Cubs News: Jed Hoyer growing impatient with team’s lackluster vaccine rate

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

There’s enough that can derail a Major League team’s quest for a championship. Over the last two seasons, COVID-19 was added to the list – but with vaccinations widely available in the United States, some teams have been able to diminish the risk the virus poses to players and staff. Unfortunately, the Chicago Cubs are not among that group of teams.

Speaking to the press on Thursday, Jed Hoyer noted the Cubs remain well short of hitting their 85 percent vaccination goal – and there’s little reason to think that will change, either.

"“It’s disappointing to not be at 85% as a team,” Hoyer said Thursday. “We’ve worked hard to try and convince or educate the people that have been reluctant. We’re at a place right now — I’m not going to give up hope we’re going to get there — my level of optimism is waning. It is disappointing.”"

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Last month in Milwaukee, the team had a scare – but, by and large, have avoided the large-scale disruptions that hit other clubs. Of course, pitching coach Tommy Hottovy battled the coronavirus last year and was hit hard. But apparently that experience wasn’t enough to convince certain individuals on the roster to get their vaccination.

"“My journey through this virus was not like ones you hear of younger people who are asymptomatic or only have it for a few days. I did have to go the hospital for a little bit of time to get checked and do all the breathing treatments.”"

Unvaccinated players add to risk for Cubs

The 2021 Cubs have their hands full keeping their head above water as it is given the financial limitations the front office is facing and a roster that’s poised to turn over more than half its players at year end – including a trio of former All-Stars in Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo.

Given how light the team’s starting pitching depth is, rolling the dice with vaccines is a tough look. A COVID outbreak on the pitching staff could take this season off the rails in a hurry. It’s bad enough as it is with a piecemeal rotation that’s nowhere near what the team has featured in the past.

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Hoyer did not that personnel and roster decisions would not be made based on an individual’s vaccine status. Until the team hits the 85 percent threshold, though, added precautions and guidelines will remain in place for everyone – including masks, distancing and restrictions on what everyone can do in their personal lives, as well.