Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bitching about the All-Star rosters is dumb

Does that make me dumb by extension if I bitch about the people bitching about the rosters?  Probably.  But there are always going to be fifty worthless "HERE IS MY LIST OF ALL-STAR SNUBS" articles written in the days after the rosters get announced, and I have to post about something.  So here goes.  Lead us off, Scott Miller.

First base: Chris Davis, Orioles
My pick: Davis

Talk about getting out the vote. The Orioles did it better than MTV ever dreamed of.

That's one of the worst jokes I've ever read.

Second base: Robinson Cano, Yankees
My pick: Jason Kipnis, Indians

Yes, this is coin-flip territory. But Kipnis is having one Rock and Roll Hall of Fame summer, 

That is a thing that is in that player's city!

and the message isn't carrying too well across Lake Erie to the rest of the land. Cano, Boston's Dustin Pedroia and the Angels' Howie Kendrick are deserving as well. But Kipnis leads all AL second basemen in OPS (.904), and he's played a significant role in Cleveland's reconstruction. If you want to go Pedroia, that's an acceptable answer, too. 

And so is Cano, who (it shocks me to have to say this) has shouldered a heavy load in a super thin Yankees lineup.  He is usually "protected" (haha snark quotation marks rule) by Travis Hafner.  But go ahead, tell us why you think Cano is the wrong choice.

One very demerit-inducing trend regarding Cano: He's a far worse player at home in New York than on the road this year. In 44 games on the road, he's hitting .326 with 13 homers and 33 RBI. In 43 games at home, he's at .255, 7 and 25. 

Yes, that's right.  Looking at home/road splits over the course of 85 games is a great way to choose your All-Stars.  Not that Kipnis is a bad choice, I just find this criterion to be pretty fucking stupid.  Quick, do another blimp crash of a joke!

Jay-Z might want to address this with his new client. Next thing you know, Cano will be in a Visa commercial addressing his New York nightlife.

Oh dear Lord.

Third base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
My pick: Cabrera

Fire up the cognitive dissonance tornado siren!

No question here it's Cabrera, 


and man, is this a tough position to crack. 

Also very true.

The Orioles' Manny Machado (who makes the club as a reserve) and the Rays' Evan Longoria, the Athletics' Josh Donaldson and the Rangers' Adrian Beltre (who didn't) … it's almost like shortstop in the AL in the 1990s when you had a young Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra. Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. 

Correct.  Now stop, before you--

Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 

Wait, what?  You answered that question literally one sentence ago.

Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 

Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 

Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 


Was Angel Hernandez in charge of choosing the reserves?

It's hard to screw up an Angel Hernandez joke, but I think you just did.

Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins
My pick: Mauer

No other choice here. The Royals' Salvador Perez, the Indians' Carlos Santana, the Astros Jason Castro, the Orioles' Matt Wieters and the Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia all are having nice seasons, but nobody is more deserving than Mauer (even if Target Field has stripped him of much of his power). 

Career SLG%: .467
2013 SLG%: .466

It's annoying how many writes and fans think Mauer's 2009 (28 HR, 2nd highest total in his career is 13; .587 SLG%, 2nd highest total in a full season in his career is .507) was the norm.  He will almost certainly hit double digits in home runs this year, for only the 4th time in 10 seasons.  

Hard to believe this will be Mauer's first start since 2010.

Well, he was garbage in 2011, and in 2012 he deserved it but the Twins were garbage and the Rangers had won two pennants in a row and sold out like every game and Mike Napoli had been awesome in 2011 (especially in the playoffs), so no, it's not hard to believe at all.

Second base: Brandon Phillips, Reds
My pick: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals

Nobody is a bigger fan of Phillips than me, and he totally got screwed a year ago by not even making the team. That said, Carpenter's OPS is 144 points higher than Phillips' and the kid is having a knockout season. 

All reasonable things to say, so let's just leave it at--

Phillips' lineage, though, is pretty cool: He becomes the first Reds second baseman elected to start an All-Star Game since Hall of Famer Joe Morgan in 1978. Does this mean there one day will be a website?

Barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf

Ken Rosenthal gets in on the action with an utterly worthless column based on the premise that, because the A's are having a good season, they deserve to have a bunch of All-Stars.  Watch him refute his own arguments and wander off aimlessly into nothingness.

They can’t get a new ballpark. Raw sewage flooded parts of their current ballpark. So, the least baseball could do for the Oakland Athletics would be to give them more than one All-Star, right?

I mean, I guess, but only if they really had more than one guy who was deserving.  Unfortunately it's hard to make the case that they do.

The A’s, after all, are the defending AL West champions. 

Not a thing that should be considered when picking All-Stars.  Of course it happens indirectly all the time, because successful teams have more fans voting, but it's not like any objective voter is going to sit there and say "Hey, the A's won their division last year.  I think I'm going to vote for Josh Reddick over Mike Trout."

They’re leading the West again, rolling along with the second-best record in the AL. Over the past 365 days, their 103-63 record is the best in the majors.

Only slightly less important than their 2012 performance.  I mean in theory I hear what he's saying, and it's kind of too bad that Donaldson didn't make it, but the fact is the A's don't really have many All-Star caliber players.  Ho hum, it happens, they're still a really good team.  This is like an 800 word column (I'm not posting all of it here) that probably should be a 125 character tweet.

And they get one stinking All-Star?

Ah, there are reasons. There always are reasons. 

Spoken like someone who already knows they have nothing to say.  

And I’m guessing that at least one of the injustices — the exclusion of right-hander Grant Balfour, the only AL closer who has not blown a save this season — will be corrected.

Complaining about which RPs belong or don't belong on the roster is the stupidest subset of the already very stupid activity of complaining about players who belong or don't belong on the roster.

Righty Bartolo Colon, the Athletics’ only selection, is scheduled to start next Sunday, two days before the All-Star Game. That alone could open a spot for Balfour, according to the “Sunday Pitcher Rule” in the collective-bargaining agreement.

Great, let's move on to the rest of the non-substance of your argument.

The rule gives pitchers who start the Sunday before the ASG the option of participating or not participating. If they participate, they cannot pitch more than one inning. If they elect not to participate, they are replaced on the roster but treated in the same manner as other All-Stars, and encouraged to attend and be announced at the game.

OK, seriously, can we move on?

So, Colon can take one for the team, creating an opening for Balfour. 


The withdrawals of other Sunday starters or injuries also could lead to extra roster spots. AL manager Jim Leyland alluded to possible adjustments Saturday, saying, “I wouldn’t jump the gun on anything, because things do change.”

Leyland is a piece of shit, but as Rosenthal himself will shortly show us, he made a pretty solid set of choices in assembling his team.

Leyland, of course, will take the hit for the Great Oakland Snub, 


and his five-player, final-man ballot, as we shall see, is absurd. But with his bullpen, all he did was try to balance his left-handers and right-handers.

To try to win the game, because for better or for worse, it's in the interest of an ASG manager to assemble a roster that will win the game, and not worry about finding space for marginal guys who play for good teams simply because of the fact that they play for good teams.

The players elected righties Mariano Rivera of the Yankees and Joe Nathan of the Rangers, overlooking Balfour. Leyland added lefties Glen Perkins of the Twins and Brett Cecil of the Blue Jays, both of whom have been brilliant.

So you're going to refute your own argument?

Balfour has excelled against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .571 OPS, but Perkins has been even better (.526) and Cecil downright absurd (.293). 

OK, yes you are.

The game determines home-field advantage for the World Series. Can’t fault Leyland for choosing the optimal pieces. Can’t fault him at all.


The other Oakland snubs — shortstop Jed Lowrie, 

Maybe having the 5th best season of any SS in the AL, maybe

outfielder Coco Crisp, 

If you really stretch your imagination, you could say he's been a top 8 OF in the AL this year

even third baseman Josh Donaldson 

Already discussed, and while he's awesome, I think it's safe to say Drinky Cabrera and Machado have been awesomer (the latter because of his stellar defense).

— are less egregious. 

Remember the part when he was like "AND THE A'S ONLY GET ONE STINKING ALL-STAR?  THIS IS AN OUTRAGE"?  

The fans elected the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy at short, the players picked the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta. Crisp missed time with a strained left hamstring, and the fans and players picked six outfielders ahead of him. Donaldson, well, he just got caught up in an unfortunate numbers game.

All correct.

The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, naturally, is the fans’ elected starter at third base, while the Orioles’ Manny Machado was the players’ selection. 

I know it's redundant to leave these in when I already addressed it, but it's kind of funny to see him walk everything back, isn't it?

Leyland went with three second basemen, 

All of whom are having seasons so much better than Lowrie or Crisp that it's not even funny.  And Donaldson has been great, but all three of these 2Bs have been better than him too.

choosing the Indians’ Jason Kipnis to go with the fan’s pick, the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, and players’ choice, the Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia.

But the manager also bypassed Evan Longoria at third, instead picking Ben Zobrist, who offers versatility as a switch-hitter and multi-position player, as his only Ray.

And that's pretty sketchy, because Zobrist is not having a good year (.262/.348/.375), but again, Leyland is trying to win the game.

All that is understandable. 

Thank you for continuing to write nothing at all.

What is not understandable is Leyland’s final-man ballot, which should have been something like this: Donaldson, Longoria, the Angels’ Howie Kendrick, Rangers’ Adrian Beltre and Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Nava or Jose Iglesias.

Except that... say it with me now, Herm Edwards... Leyland is... playing to...

Leyland instead chose five setup relievers — the Jays’ Steve Delabar, Yankees’ David Robertson, Red Sox’s Koji Uehara, Rangers’ Tanner Scheppers and Tigers’Joaquin Benoit. It’s nice to see such pitchers get recognition. But at the expense of worthy position players? Please.

I'll just leave this here.

NL manager Bruce Bochy put together a much more representative and intriguing final-man ballot — the Nationals’ Ian Desmond, Braves’ Freddie Freeman, Giants’ Hunter Pence and Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez. 

That ballot is in no way "more representative" than the AL ballot.  The only way either ballot could be non-representative is if the players on it were shitty (nope), or if they were from the opposite league (nope).  It is intriguing, I guess, if you really care about Puig making the team (which I'm sure he will, but let's not shit our pants over whether or not that happens--looking at you, Papelbon) or if you're intrigued by the idea of good-not-great players like Freeman or Pence maybe making an extra $25K due to a bonus clause in their contracts or something.

That’s the way the ballot is supposed to be used — as a last resort for deserving players (and in the case of Pence, as a reward for one of Bochy’s own).

SHAME ON YOU, JIM LEYLAND.  Rosenthal hopes you encounter a situation next week in which you desperately need another third baseman, but only have a bench full of relief pitchers.  Who will look like the idiot when that happens?  (Note: I promise you that outside of the .001% chance that both Machado and Cabrera get hurt during the game, that is not going to happen)


ivn said...

I just looked up the rosters, and wow what is Torii Hunter doing there? if that's our cutoff then you could probably argue a case for Seth Smith.

Tim N said...

"and the message isn't carrying too well across Lake Erie to the rest of the land"

By rest of the land does he mean Shitville, Canada? Because that's what is across Lake Erie from Cleveland.