Major League Baseball is reportedly close to enacting a policy that will require minor-league players to be innoculated against COVID-19 ahead of the start of the 2022 season, per Hannah Keyser of Yahoo Sports.
This isn't the first time MLB has mandated that a group of individuals be vaccinated. The league has required all "managers, coaches, athletic trainers and other non-playing personnel" to be vaccinated in order to have field and restricted area access during the postseason, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Elsewhere, MLB informed prospects heading to the Arizona Fall League in September that they must be vaccinated in order to partake, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Piecoro added that "a high-ranking executive said that of the seven players in his organization who were set to participate, one agreed to get vaccinated in order to play."
It's unclear if MLB plans to push a vaccination mandate at the big-league level as part of this winter's Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations with the MLB Players Association. Most minor-league players are not part of the MLBPA or any other union, meaning they have minimal input on matters like this. MLB players, conversely, have the union to fight for and protect against their rights.
One individual who seems in favor of vaccination mandates in MLB clubhouses is Chicago Cubs president Jed Hoyer. "I'd love nothing more than to walk into a fully vaccinated clubhouse every day and get rid of those concerns," he said on Thursday to reporters, including Patrick Mooney of The Athletic.
A vaccination mandate would be doing Hoyer a favor. The Cubs were one of seven teams who failed to surpass the 85 percent threshold among "tier 1 personnel" that would've allowed for less stringent COVID-19 guidelines. The Cubs did, however, weather multiple outbreaks during the season, including in the final days.