I stopped caring about the All Star game after 2002 for many reasons. The biggest one being the change following that years game which made it so that there had to be a winner to determine home field advantage in the World Series. That has no longer been the case since 2017. That said, the last six years I have found better things to care more about so I still was not watching it.
With that, let’s discuss this years rosters with the Universal DH. Leading off with the obvious topic… J.D. Martinez vs. Shohei Ohtani starting at DH. One question many fans have been asking on social media is “Will Shohei be allowed to pitch even if he is removed before being brought in as a pitcher?” At the end of the day, the answer is likely no because the All Star Game is played by the rules. However, I could see a world where after Shohei gets one at bats he replaces the pitcher in the next half inning and then is lifted from the game after his second at bat.
Now for some more general discussion about the rosters. Due to a few injuries both the National League and American League both have some replacement players playing. When all is said and done the obvious teams have the most representatives in uniform based on how they have been playing. Those teams are the Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves.
There are many guys that will be in uniform for the game Tuesday night who I have never even heard of or don’t know too much about. In my eyes all the focus has been on one player the last few years who I have already named.
Yes, I am talking about Ohtani here. He is the first, and hopefully not the last, two-way player that has had any attention since Babe Ruth and the 2023 All Star Game will mostly focus on him since he is going to be a hot topic a the trade deadline and this winter. The teams that are expected to be the top players in the Shotani Sweepstakes according to many reporters and analysts are San Fransisco, Oakland, the Dodgers, San Diego, Seattle, Boston, the Yankees, and the Cubs. However it plays out as I write this he is expected to get at least 65 million bucks per year. Some analysts think it might be a shorter term deal with many player, team, and mutual option years.
You are probably asking yourself why no Cubs have been mentioned yet, aren’t you? That’s because there is only one Cub that will be in uniform on Tuesday night. That is Justin Steele. He is the first home grown Cubs pitcher to represent the organization since Tom Ricketts brought Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to town in the winter of 2011. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for the Cubs hopes to be buyers at the deadline, he will not be starting though.
The other two Cubs who were selected to the team but will not be in uniform are Marcus Stroman and Dansby Swanson. Let’s take a moment to look at both situations. First the Stroman situation; he publicly said in interviews that he was sitting out because he wanted to rest to be ready for the second have of the season. However, I think the truth is he is this as an opportunity to indirectly demand a trade at the deadline. That could happen too because the Cubs sent Hayden Wesneski down to Iowa to stretch out for the rotation. However, a Stroman trade on its own does not flag the Cubs as sellers because they have a log jam in the rotation and Marcus has made it clear that he wants an extension but Jed is not willing to offer him one; this means he is on his way out of town even if it is not through a trade.
Now, let’s talk about Swansby. He was on the NL Roster as a Brave last year and the Cubs signed him to a seven year contract back in December knowing about his heel injury from 2019 which came back up in Milwaukee last week and has landed him on the 10-day Injured List and could see him miss up to one month according to reports. If he does indeed miss the rest of July the Cubs will be sellers looking to next year.
With that… the MLB All Star festivities in Seattle are two days away.
If you cannot play with them, root for them!