When I landed in San Francisco and got the green light to once again use electronic devices, I turned on my phone to find four emails from Major League Baseball. Apparently that’s what it takes to announce that Andy Pettitte is not an all-star.
I was a bit surprised that Alex Rodriguez made it, but I wasn’t shocked. Without steady production from the guys hitting ahead of him, Rodriguez still ranks third in the league in RBI. He’s been productive, and that’s generally worth rewarding. It was the Pettitte snub that shocked me, and based on blog comments this afternoon, it shocked a lot of other people. Here’s how the whole thing went down.
C Joe Mauer, 1B Justin Morneau, 2B Robinson Cano, SS Derek Jeter, 3B Evan Longoria, OF Carl Crawford, OF Ichiro Suzuki, OF Josh Hamilton, DH Vlad Guerrero
Fans did a solid job with the starters. Nothing completely out of line here. Even if there were someone completely undeserving, fan voting isn’t going anywhere. This is the process and these are the starters. It is what it is.
C Victor Martinez, 1B Miguel Cabrera, 2B Dustin Pedroia, SS Elvis Andrus, 3B Adrian Beltre, OF Vernon Wells, OF Jose Bautista, OF Torii Hunter, DH David Ortiz
With Martinez and Pedrioa injured, those spots were automatically filled by the next catcher and second baseman on the players’ ballots. That’s where C John Buck and 2B Ian Kinsler got in the game.
Again, these are pretty good choices, though Ortiz over Paul Konerko seems like a snub. The players rewarded Bautista for his breakout first half, and they went with two popular center fielders for the other spots. Was Nick Swisher a better choice? Maybe, but it’s really a matter of preference. Those two are clearly better defenders. Hunter has more RBI, more doubles and basically the exact same slash line as Swisher. Wells has hit for considerably more power.
SP David Price, SP Clay Buchholz, SP Jon Lester, SP Phil Hughes, SP Cliff Lee, RP Mariano Rivera, RP Neftali Feliz, RP Jose Valverde
Interesting group of pitchers, no? The relievers are good picks. Maybe you could argue Soria or Soriano over Feliz, but I’ll defer to the players on this one. Those three are fine choices. For the starters, Lee Price, Buchholz and Lester rank 1 through 4 in American League ERA. Obvious choices all four. Hughes ranks 20th in ERA and is frankly the most questionable choice of the bunch, but again, these are the guys who have faced him this season. If they think he belongs, it’s hard to be too upset about that.
Joe Girardi had seven picks. He had to fill spots from the Orioles, Indians, Athletics, White Sox and Royals. That left him two free choices, and both went to the Yankees.
UT Ty Wigginton, 3B Alex Rodriguez
Wiggington was an obvious pick from the Orioles (and if you believe some trade rumors, he might very well be another Yankees all-star). It’s the Rodriguez pick that is most eye-opening, especially considering Girardi could have filled his White Sox spot with Konerko or Alex Rios, or he could have filled his Royals pick with Billy Butler, or he could have filled his Indians pick with Shin-Soo Choo (who’s heading for the DL). Girardi could even have picked either of his own outfielders, Nick Swisher or Brett Gardner, or if he wanted another infielder he could have gone with Kevin Youkilis or Michael Young. Instead, it’s Rodriguez. Again, the RBI total is impressive so it’s not a terrible selection, just a little surprising given the other options.
SP Trevor Cahill, SP Fausto Carmona, SP CC Sabathia, RP Joakim Soria, RP Matt Thornton
Cahill was easily the best choice out of Oakland. Carmona, Soria and Thornton are each fine choices from Cleveland, Kansas City and Chicago, but it’s easy to make an argument that Girardi should have filled one of those requirements by selecting a position player, leaving another pitching spot for someone like Felix Hernandez or Jared Weaver or Francisco Liriano or Pettitte.
Then again, Girardi had one last spot on his pitching staff and he went with Sabathia.
Girardi has indicated that he chose Sabathia because he knew he could replace him when Sabathia pitches on Sunday, and I have no problem with that thinking. Weaver is also pitching on Sunday, but giving the tie to your own guy seems to be part of the spoils of winning the World Series. At some point, it seems likely that Girardi will have to choose replacements for Sabathia and Cahill. I assume Buchholz will also be replaced — he’s not pitching again until after the all-star break — but that replacement has to be the next guy on the players’ ballots.
1B Paul Konerko, OF Nick Swisher, 1B Kevin Youkilis, OF Delmon Young, 3B Michael Young
No Rios. No Brennan Boesch. No Magglio Ordonez. Girardi seems to love the RBI stat. He picked Rodriguez as his final position player, then his final ballot includes the three highest RBI totals — Konerko, Youkilis, D. Young — who didn’t make the team. The highest RBI total that isn’t either on the roster or on the final ballot?
I don’t have a huge problem with any of Girardi’s choices, but can you imagine the fallout if he made that choice?
Associated Press photos of Jeter and Cano, Hughes, Rodriguez and a headshot of Swisher.