Who are the best players never to make an All-Star team?

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Since the All-Star rosters were announced Sunday people have been arguing about who should and shouldn’t have made the team, with the focus often being on the biggest snubs. But who are the biggest All-Star snubs, in terms of never being picked for an entire career?
Baseball-Reference.com recently added that sorting feature to its amazing “Play Index” and I crunched the numbers using a stat called Wins Above Replacement to find which players accumulated the most career value as zero-time All-Stars.
Here’s the top 10 for hitters and pitchers:

HITTERS             WAR        PITCHERS            WAR
Tony Phillips      48.2        Tom Candiotti      41.0
Tim Salmon         37.6        Danny Darwin       37.1
Kirk Gibson        37.1        John Tudor         32.3
Eric Chavez        35.8        Bill Hands         31.8
Richie Hebner      35.2        Charlie Leibrandt  31.7
Garry Maddox       33.8        Jim Barr           30.5
Jose Valentin      33.7        John Denny         29.5
Dwayne Murphy      32.9        Fritz Ostermueller 27.6
Ken McMullen       31.7        Ellis Kinder       27.4
Earl Torgeson      31.5        Kevin Tapani       26.7

Some interesting names on those lists, but I think the clear lesson is that while there are plenty of regrettable snubs every season few great or even very good players fail to end up in the All-Star game eventually.
If you’re curious, here are the same lists except with active players only:

HITTERS             WAR        PITCHERS            WAR
Eric Chavez        35.8        Doug Davis         22.1
David DeJesus      22.1        A.J. Burnett       21.5
Casey Blake        21.7        Aaron Harang       18.1
Travis Hafner      19.7        Erik Bedard        17.1
Mark Ellis         19.2        Darren Oliver      16.2
Mark Kotsay        19.0        Rich Harden        15.5
Adam Kennedy       18.1        John Danks         15.2
Craig Counsell     18.1        Octavio Dotel      13.9
Orlando Cabrera    18.0        Joel Pineiro       13.7
Lyle Overbay       17.0        Jeff Weaver        13.4

Eric Chavez and most of the other guys have missed their chance at this point, but John Danks and David DeJesus have played at an All-Star level this season and are young enough to be decent bets to make it eventually.

Mariners sign reliever Joel Peralta

Joel Peralta
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Right-hander Joel Peralta has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.

Peralta spent last season with the Dodgers and was limited to 29 innings by neck and back problems, posting a 4.34 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio. Los Angeles declined his $2.5 million option, making him a free agent.

He was one of the most underrated relievers in baseball from 2010-2014, logging a total of 318 innings with a 3.34 ERA and 342 strikeouts, but at age 40 he’s shown signs of decline. Still, for a minor-league deal and no real commitment Peralta has a chance to be a nice pickup for Seattle’s bullpen.

White Sox sign Mat Latos

Mat Latos
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Jerry Crasnick reports that the Chicago White Sox have signed Mat Latos.

Latos was pretty spiffy between 2010-2014, posting sub-3.50 ERAs each year.  Then the injuries came and he fell apart. He pitched for three teams in 2015 — the Dodgers, Angels, and Marlins — with a combined 4.95 ERA in 113 innings. And he didn’t make friends on those clubs either, with reports of clubhouse strife left in his wake.

In Chicago he gets a fresh start. It doesn’t come in a park that will do him any favors — Latos and U.S. Cellular Field don’t seem like a great match — but at this point beggars can’t be choosers.

 

Jason Castro loses arbitration hearing against Astros

Jason Castro
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Veteran catcher Jason Castro and the Astros went through with an arbitration hearing over a difference of $250,000 and the three-person panel ruled in favor of the team.

That means Castro will make $5 million this season rather than his requested amount of $5.25 million. This is his final year of arbitration eligibility, so the 29-year-old catcher will be a free agent after the season.

Castro showed a lot of promise early on, including making the All-Star team at age 26 in 2013, but since then he’s hit just .217 with a .650 OPS in 230 games. His power and pitch-framing skills are a valuable combination even within sub par overall production, so 2016 will be a key year for the former first-round draft pick.

Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Eminent Domain and the history of the Rangers Ballpark

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump addresses supporters at a campaign rally, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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Eminent Domain — the right of a government to take/buy private property for public use — and its implications has always been a controversial topic. It became far more controversial in the 1990s and early 2000s, however,  as the practice, which is intended for public projects like roads and stuff, was increasingly used in ways to help developers and businesses.

The controversy came to a head in the 2005 case Kelo v. City of New London in which the Supreme Court held that general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth — not just direct public works — qualified as a “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The upshot: if someone had a good argument that a shopping mall would benefit the community, Mr. Developer and the government can force you to sell them their house.

This led to a HUGE backlash, with property rights people freaking out about what seemed like a pretty clear abuse of governmental power serving the interests of developers. Some 44 states have since passed laws outlawing the use of Eminent Domain for purely economic development. Some of that backlash has gone too far in the other direction, with some laws getting passed which not only required compensation to landowners if land was taken, but merely if land was diminished in value.  Like, if the government passes an environmental regulation which makes your private, for-profit toxic waste dump less lucrative than it was, the government has to pay you. It’s crazy stuff, really. And all of those laws notwithstanding, the topic continues to be a controversial one, with battles over what, exactly, is “public” what is a “public good” and all of that raging on. It’s rather fascinating. At least for boring nerfherders like me.

In the recent GOP presidential debate Donald Trump and Jeb Bush got into it on the topic, with Trump — a real estate developer, or course — defending the use of Eminent Domain to take land for economic development and Bush — a really desperate dude who at this point will take ANY position he can if it’ll give him traction — opposing it. In the days since they’ve continued to fight about it, with Trump charging Bush with hypocrisy since his brother, George W., was an owner of the Texas Rangers when they built their new ballpark with the help of Eminent Domain.

Ahh, yes. We finally get to baseball.

Today Nathaniel Rakich of Baseballot digs into that project and looks at how it all played out against the Eminent Domain debate. It touches on stuff we talk about a lot around here: are ballparks engines of economic development or merely for the enrichment of ballclubs? If they are built by a municipality, are they public goods? Wait, how can they be public goods if you can’t just walk into them for free? And the arguments go on.

It’s fascinating stuff showing, once again, that the real world and baseball intersect all the dang time and it’s handy to have a handle on just how, exactly, it does so.