Shoemaker: COVID-19 could have 'huge' impact on Blue Jays' free-agency appeal

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Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Matt Shoemaker believes the coronavirus pandemic could impact the way free agents view playing in Canada during the 2021 campaign.

"If COVID-19 is still a factor ... that could play a huge aspect in anybody coming to Toronto, and hopefully it doesn't," Shoemaker told Sportsnet's "The Good Show" on Wednesday. "I think in general, before this season, everybody ... loves coming to Toronto when they play them on the road. ... But I think it's semi-tough for people to go to Toronto over a picking a different team in a regular season because some people are intimidated about going over the border."

Shoemaker, who's scheduled to become a free agent after this season, acknowledged there are many factors players have to consider amid unusual travel and safety restrictions.

"If Toronto wants you and they want to sign you to a deal, oh, but hey, the government still says, 'You guys have to play in a bubble,' (and) maybe you're the only team (in a bubble) because it's Canada, and your family can't come, that would be a really big discussion," the 34-year-old said.

The Blue Jays played their home games at Buffalo's Sahlen Field during the 2020 campaign after Canadian authorities denied the team approval to host contests in Toronto. The most critical stumbling block was Canada's Quarantine Act, which requires any person entering the country for nonessential reasons to self-isolate for 14 days.

The club also explored the possibility of playing in Pittsburgh and Baltimore but had to settle for Buffalo due to restrictions.

Shoemaker: COVID-19 could have 'huge' impact on Blue Jays' free-agency appeal
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